CZ Talk:Cold Storage/Extreme Abuse Survey

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Definition of extreme abuse

Unless it's in an unlinked CZ article, I believe it essential that the introduction of this article clearly define "extreme abuse", not by external citation, but what is meant in this context. As far as I know, it's not a DSM-IV definition, although I don't have a copy here. Frankly, it comes across as a non-neutral term; there may be sufficiently objective definition to modify that impression, but the material needs to be in the article.

The term "mind control" also does not give a sense of neutrality.

Looking further at the references, I see they are all books, not peer-reviewed publications.

Howard C. Berkowitz 05:04, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment above. One book is written by Karnac, a respected publisher. The second is edited by Noblitt, a respected researcher in the field. I am unsure what you mean about the term "mind control" not giving a sense of neutrality. Neil Brick 05:15, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I should note that I consider it extremely premature to claim that an article is "Ready for Approval" on the same day it is created. Book sources -- and I speak as an author of published books in my field -- are generally less preferred to peer-reviewed articles, consensus statements of professional organizations, etc.
Mind control? Sourced, neutral definition, please. I am very familiar with the literature on pressures in, for example, Korean and Vietnam War POW camps, and I don't remember it as a term of art. I don't remember it in the MKULTRA documents. It's not something seriously believed possible in human-source intelligence.
Is it a DSM-IV or ICD definition? Searching for "mind control" in Medical Subject Headings of the National Library of Medicine returns "no entry." Howard C. Berkowitz 05:23, 20 January 2009 (UTC)


As a brief and stricly factual article about the EAS I have no fundamental problem with this. I am a bit concerned about the "Attacks" section which seems to be innuendo, and of no fundamental relevance to what the EAS is. I also think it right to consider some wording carefully - these surveys as I understand them do not collate date on abuse; the collate allegations of abuse. If the wording is changed to reflect this then I am fine with it. Otherwise there would need to be neutral text on the potential unreliability of such data, referencing false memory syndrome etc.Gareth Leng 11:08, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Thanks for your comment on this. I have made a change to the first line of the article that should address your second point. I do believe that the attacks section is important, since it does discuss an important problem that could have stopped the study from occurring. The section itself simply states the facts about the attacks. I will delete the word "however" from the section to avoid any inference that the attacks were meant to stop the study from occurring, though this is probably what they were meant to do.Neil Brick 03:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

"Background" section

First, I'm not sure, from an article design standpoint, what this adds. If anything, it gives more of a sense of belonging in a press release or essay than in a neutral article. Following CZ conventions, I have moved problematic text here for discussion, and explaining my reasons for moving it.

Wanda Karriker is a retired psychologist in the United States. She was interviewed on Court TV as an expert in Extreme Abuse. She wrote about the after-effects of extreme abuse in her novel “ Morning, Come Quickly.”

Court TV and a novel are not what would usually be assumed as source qualifications on CZ. Her background as a psychologist might be much more relevant, but "retired" doesn't give any information.

Carol Rutz is a healed extreme abuse/mind control survivor in the United States. She wrote “A Nation Betrayed: The Chilling True Story of Secret Cold War Experiments Performed on Our Children and Other Innocent People (2001).

It has not yet been agreed, in CZ consensus, what "extreme abuse" and "mind control" actually mean. They are not used in child abuse. Without definition, they give me a strong flavor of being terms that evoke emotion rather than add information. The title of Rutz's book does not remotely seem neutral; it seems a strong advocacy position.

Thorsten Becker is a social worker and freelance supervisor in Germany. He served as a case consultant in several suspected cult-related cases in Europe. In 1994, he received the “German Child Protection Award” for his team’s work with severely abused children.

I don't know what "freelance supervisor" means. Supervision usually implies an organizational structure inconsistent with "freelance".

"Suspected" is clearly not authoritative. "Cult" is also an emotionally laden term, not defined in context. There is no reference obvious to me, a non-German, on the significance of the "German Child Protection Award."

I am also troubled by "team" and "severely abused". There is no indication of the team's affiliations. Did it, perhaps, not address moderately abused children?

CZ now has a child abuse article, which does have a taxonomy although the general acceptance of the taxonomy is not completely clear. Nevertheless, the word "extreme" never occurs in that article; "severe" is used once with a context and citation.

The more I reread here, the more I am concerned with the neutrality of language. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:36, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your ideas on this. At this point, I accept the removal of the above section from the article, until the above problems can be worked out. Neil Brick 03:56, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I do thank you for discussing these things, which are meant constructively. It's always a little tense when one first criticizes.
Have you looked at the child abuse article? What do you see as its relationship to here? Now, if there is a distinct syndrome that is addressed here and not there, that's fine — the goal is articulating the syndrome and showing the difference. We can take on controversial topics, but the goal is neutrality and accuracy. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:12, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I have looked at the article and it appears that this is not addressed there. Any ideas on articulating the syndrome further would be appreciated. Neil Brick 04:18, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Let me make what might seem a radical solution. Rename this article "extreme child abuse" or something that ties strongly to the professional literature that deals with the subject. I can help with the mechanics if you do want to do that.
Even if you keep the current title, start out by giving a solid, unemotional, sourced definition of the concept; it's confusing to read about a survey trying to measure something I don't recognize. I've just done a PubMed/Medline search for "extreme abuse survey" and gotten no hits. After 7 pages of Google search for the exact string, there were no hits from anything that appeared to be a scientific journal or general medical/psychological professional association. There were, however, a great many hits on what seemed to be websites with a strong position, a considerable amount of mention of "ritual abuse", and a nontrivial amount about satanism. I have to say that it is starting to concern me that this survey has a preconception that there is a widespread, not generally recognized in the medical or behavioral literature, but there is a great deal of emotion about it.
Speaking for myself, I've never encountered the term in this usage, but I don't work with children. From the military/intelligence side, I've had a fair bit of exposure to principles of trauma, including the psychological aspects of torture and such things as ideological "reeducation" in prison camps. I'm reasonably familiar with the DSM stress syndromes and current concepts of diagnosis and treatment, but I don't still haven't found a clear definition of "extreme abuse".
It further concerns me that I see, in these searches, quite a few references to "mind control." Again, there is little scientific support that such a thing exists, and the practical matter that intelligence agencies tried very, very hard to produce it and failed.
I can't help you articulate a syndrome I don't understand and for which I can't seem to find mention except in...well, sources that don't strike me as obviously objective. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:31, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
You make some good points above. A "solid, unemotional, sourced definition of the concept" sounds like a good idea.
How about this for a definition "Extreme abuse is child abuse that includes torture, threats, confinements, violence, and other types of unlawful or immoral exploitation that children may have endured during the abuse, which results in debilitating after-effects." This is basically a definition by the authors of the survey. Neil Brick 02:46, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
It may be what the survey authors were looking for, but using that to define the subject is rather circular. There is no question there that child abuse exists, and it is real. The "extreme" term, however, seems to belong, on my review of web sources and inability to find it in PubMed, seems to be the term of activists, rather than a different sort of child abuse not generally recognized in the medical literature, makes me concerned that this different concept comes from activists.
Respectfully, I am a bit concerned about the statement, in your webpage, that you focus on coverups of child abuse. The McMartin and other more extreme cases simply did not hold up. There is, clearly, a community of people that believes in the existence of large ritual abuse systems, and, in some cases, things termed mind control.
The authors of a responsible survey do not get to define the subject. They start with something recognized in medical or social science literature. Survey techniques are not necessarily the best instruments of research. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:02, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Howard, you make good points above, about definitions and about surveys, as well as your concerns about this particular set of surveys. We could say something like Neil said, but add:
  • "The authors of the surveys focused particularly on types of child abuse that they considered "extreme" (thus the name) such as torture, threats, confinements, violence, and other types of unlawful or immoral exploitation that children may have endured during the abuse, which results in debilitating after-effects."
We wouldn't have to do this if we were to find that there was indeed a set of abuses that were defined as extreme.
D. Matt Innis 04:08, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Let me preface what I'm about to say next with that my reading is preliminary. Some critics of the survey, however, suggest that the authors looked for allegations of child abuse that met their criteria, rather than externally validated cases. Take a look at pseudoscience#other, with emphasis on footnote 5, which is what I would call a reputable source. Satanic ritual abuse and "the use of hypnosis for memory recovery", among other things, are questioned. If you'll pardon a slight rolling of eyes at the Rorshach test, my mother was a psychotherapist, and I grew up surrounded by all of the normally restricted psychological test manuals. She had what I called an annoying habit of volunteering me for research studies, and I must say that it was an interesting research test of my own to experiment with the psychologists performing Rohrshachs and some of the other less well-validated projective tests.
If, for example, the authors here believe that Satanic ritual abuse is a real issue, some authoritative criticism of the article section I just cited would seem appropriate within Citizendium. We've had a recent experience that may suggest that contributors that focus only on one controversial subject in a very limited number of controversial articles may not be in the interest of CZ as an authoritative, expert-guided resource. That, in turn, gets into uncomfortable issues of Neutrality Policy. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:36, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
My reading is certainly preliminary as well, and the more I read, the more I see why you are worried. I do agree that if this article were to make specific claims, that those claims should be fully discussed and include other perspectives, including the quality of the studies and the case study type style with confirmation bias, etc., etc.. However, I don't think we need worry about what specific authors think as long as we all collaborate toward a neutral article. As far as authors focusing only on certain limited number of controversial article, well, I don't see that we need worry about them any more than we need to worry about those that keep arguing with them :-) Most people only write about things that interest them, don't ya think? The CZ:Neutrality Policy should prevail. D. Matt Innis 04:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
"Most people only write about things that interest them, don't ya think?" Not necessarily, for at least two reasons, one of which is not pertinent here. If you are correct, why, then, should other authors or editors care to enter into extensive discussion of a topic where they believe the subject is irretrievably flawed? My answer would be that they care about the integrity of CZ. There are, however, finite resources. I want to create readable new content from reasonable expert knowledge and sourcing. If, however, the limited number of people with specific knowledge that might move an article to an utterly neutral position simply don't want to spend time on neutralizing rather than creating, what happens? Do they simply allow what they believe to be non-neutral material to stand, leaving the field to people that believe fervently in a biased source? Do you really think that people will continue to want to be associated with CZ if their choice is mostly to counter bias and keep integrity, turning the initiative over to anyone who wants to bring in a partisan position? Howard C. Berkowitz 09:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps some general clarifications, meant constructively

Don't assume CZ will not cover things that are not generally accepted. While it was a hard effort, the homeopathy article eventually got to a point that both its advocates and critics felt was fair, although it was neither an endorsement nor a condemnation. The sourcing did have to be authoritative, generally meaning as coming from accepted peer-reviewed sources, or, in some aspects dealing with government policy, the primary government sources.

While I won't try to give a general explanation of the Neutrality Policy, it is possible to have discussions of controversial subjects, but not from one side alone. CZ is not the right place if the goal is to "expose" something. Forgive me if I am assuming anything improperly, but your user page, and possibly some web links, suggest you are concerned with coverups of child abuse, mind control, ritual abuse, and recovered memory. Do not assume that other Citizens will automatically agree with your positions, or that this is a place to convince them.

It is a place where umemotional descriptions could be written, as long as you are prepared for equally unemotional and sourced disagreement. Frankly, it bothered me that this article was immediately called Ready for Approval; approval often takes quite a bit of consensus-building and expert approval. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:07, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

My asking for approval prematurely was an error on my part due to my inexperience with the citizendium process. I can withdraw that request if it would help with the consensus-building process. Neil Brick 02:50, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Definitely so. Right now, it is not at all clear why extreme abuse is not a subset of child abuse. Even there, I am a bit concerned that most of the citations seem to be to websites, when there is, indeed, a large body of peer-reviewed data on child abuse, as well as, for example, reasonably well-established child pornography operations. The ritual abuse area, as well as the technique of recovered memories, do not appear to have strong expert acceptance, although the idea is understandably very emotional for some. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:08, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Apparently there are a set of surveys that are being called "Extreme abuse Surveys". I think the title can be used as long as it is placed correctly, and I haven't decided how that should be. We could use this with, as a resource for, a subpage of child abuse or an extreme abuse article that has links to all sorts of those types of abuse that have been characterised as extreme abuse. Certainly linked to satanic ritual or Ritual abuse (which seem to overlap). It seems that the name (extreme abuse survey) is not so much a diagnosis, per se, but a proper name being given to these surveys. Since notability is not a prerequisite here, it's not so much how notable, but more of how to appropriately use the information to give it the proper place. A good psychology editor can help decide the location, but that shouldn't stop the article from progressing yet. Neil, I would suggest that you use our mailing list to contact an editor and see if anyone responds.
I am concerned that the first reference seems to point to a book with a different title than the description, which does in fact lead us to the list of surveys. I think this is an error, right? D. Matt Innis 03:23, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Matt, I noticed you have a pink link to satanic ritual. When I did a search on "satanic", there didn't seem to be such an article; the closest things that mentioned it are conspiracy theory and pseudoscience. I'm not suggesting there isn't such a thing as Satanism, as in the late Anton Levey's Church of Satan [1]. I've even met a few self-identified Satanists.
Your point that it is the name of a group of surveys is well taken. My concern is that the current form of the article seems to suggest that "extreme abuse" is assumed to be an established diagnostic syndrome. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:41, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I see what you mean, Howard. However, when I google extreme abuse that is the first thing that comes up - not that I trust a google search, but it does get us started. It seems that extreme abuse might not be a diagnosis, but it does seem to be used to differentiate between lessor forms of abuse and looks like it might be related to Dissociated Identity Disorder which certainly gets serious. I'm no psychologist, so I don't know if "extreme abuse" is used as a proper noun, or if it fits into some heirarchy of abuse, but we do know there are some surveys that are named "Extreme Abuse Surveys", so we can develop the article and then figure out where it goes.(Ha! I forgot you hate doing it that way!) I agree that this article should mostly describe the surveys for now, but it has to give some feel for what the surveys are about, which of course would be abuse of extreme dimensions. D. Matt Innis 03:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
You're right; I hate developing that way. Seriously, though, even looking at the link you gave, it seems to be a very common term in a particular community, but, if I can't find a single peer-reviewed paper on it, it begins to suggest that it is ... ummm ... an ideological position, not to be confused with a diagnosis. Indeed, while I am not a psychologist, I do have considerable experience with military stress, the history of torture in interrogation, and psychological warfare. In the small world department, I have just started an interesting correspondence with a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, about the use of torture in the Algerian War, and was able to provide him with some information here (i.e. Roger Trinquier). The issue of torture is a current news issue; Obama is, in my somewhat professional opinion, quite properly shutting down techniques that have never been widely accepted in intelligence circles; the commander of Guantanamo Detention Camp, who set up Abu Ghraib, was not an intelligence officer.
I will probably start editing the torture article, which can stand a good deal of work and is apt to get a number of hits. In the interest of CZ, I'm hesitant to see discussions of torture that are not well sourced. Some of the surveys have been questioned as attempting to document a preconception. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:11, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems that these surveys might also consider some of those even "acceptible" torture methods as extreme, huh. You say: Some of the surveys have been questioned as attempting to document a preconception. Let's make sure that perspective is included in a neutral description of those surveys. I do agree that extreme abuse is not a diagnosis, but there is no doubt that abuse that is extreme does exist and these surveys play a role in the big picture of the ways people try to study and/or document it, or as I am sure some think - exagerate it into a conspiracy theory. It's all still okay to write about. D. Matt Innis 04:32, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Acceptable torture? Acceptable to whom? Having known a few Satanists, I'm not sure they would want Dick Cheney. :-( We do need a Psychology/Health Sciences Editor giving some guidance here. If, however, torture, especially in the context of human-source intelligence interrogration, gets mixed in with this — which I'd really like to avoid in this article discussion since children were not being tortured as terrorist suspects — that would reasonably bring the topic under the Military Workgroup as well. See, for example, [2]; I have been corresponding with Prof. Moran and even got some nice words about our Roger Trinquier article. That the Naval Postgraduate School's research center, the Senate Armed Services Committee, etc., consider torture an issue in counterterrorism and intelligence, I believe, substantiates that it does fall into the Military area. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:43, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Use of references

Inline references are generally preferred; when a source is not tied to a specific portion of text, such as the Becker and Rutz books, that sort of reference is usually best put in a Bibliography page, with annotation about its significance. Bibliography pages are not intended to replace the references, but supplement them. Howard C. Berkowitz 06:56, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


The opening paragraph says "Extreme abuse is child abuse that includes....." but then later i read that one of the surveys is focused on adults. This seems contradictory. Chris Day 04:57, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Is the adult survey of "adult survivors" the adults recalling abuses from their childhood. This would settle my confusion above, however, then I have to ask, can adults not be targets of "extreme abuse"? If this is a technical term its usage should probably be defined since in laymans terms I think many would say that adults can be the victims of extreme abuse. Chris Day 05:08, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe there is a way to clarify this better. You make a good point above. I would agree that adults can be victims of EA also. I will attempt to fix this on the page.Neil Brick 05:13, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The problem in discussing EA of adults is that as I understand it, it was not the subject of the EAS. If this article is to be limited to the EAS, then EA of adults is out of scope. Howard C. Berkowitz 10:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting the article folds in adult abuse, rather that it needs to be clearer that the surveys are about child abuse. But, on the other hand not imply that extreme abuse only applies to children. Chris Day 13:44, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Two problems there. First, "lower case" extreme abuse certainly happens to adults. We need to be careful, however, that we do not give validation to a syndrome that seems completely unreported in the peer-reviewed literature. Please feel free to try to find it; I could not come up with anything in PUBMED, and I saw absolutely nothing, in various Google searches, that came from anything recognizable as an objective scientific source.
Second, the media kit and other information I've found in the last few hours indicates that at least one of the team has a strong agenda about governments that is being wrapped in the mantle of "protect the children"; the verifiable programs that were cited in the media kit were clearly aimed at adults.Howard C. Berkowitz 14:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Definition fixes

As per talk page requests, I have made several fixes to add sourced definitions to the page. I have defined EA and mind control as per the authors of the survey. I also added a definition from Lifton of MC. I have attempted to make the intro more neutral and I have moved a book and article to the bibliography section. Neil Brick 05:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Neil! If you find anything else to add, go ahead and do it. They will all help us answer some of these other questions. D. Matt Innis 05:53, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
See "mind control" below. Unfortunately, Lifton never actually uses the term; he uses "thought reform", which is quite different. The authors may define mind control to suit their goals, but it simply is not something that has ever been achieved, not by lack of trying by intelligence agencies and political police. I just can't accept that definition as neutral, even if it's just the study authors defining it for their own purposes. Howard C. Berkowitz 06:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The authors use "mind control" which I think is a "loaded lay term" to affect a certain response from it's readers. It is our article that needs to be neutral, not the subject of the article. We can't help if the subject is controversial or slanted, but we can make sure that our article is not. D. Matt Innis 14:58, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
If they chose to use an emotionally loaded word, that is yet additional suggestion that the survey was not neutral. Especially after seeing the media kit, I tend to think that repeating their word and presenting its implications is legitimate commentary on the style of the authors. Your point about it being our article cuts both ways: we don't want to insert needlessly inflammatory terminology, but, if the article is about the study and the authors chose to use that terminology, I believe that to be relevant and open to analysis. If the subject, a document, is controversial or slanted, how is it neutral to avoid mentioning a term that makes subject matter experts cringe? An ostensibly scientific survey that is written for emotional impact...well... Howard C. Berkowitz 15:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC) is it neutral to avoid mentioning a term that makes subject matter experts cringe? Goodness, I hope I didn't say that we shouldn't mention a word that makes subject matter experts cringe.
An ostensibly scientific survey that is written for emotional impact...well... then it is what it is. I think that the authors consider themselves victims that have found some relief and, as such, are looking to encourage other "victims" to respond to their survey in an effort to "validate the suffering of victims around the world". They got some response, but unfortunately, this method of data collection would be considered by most scientists as particularly biased and would have to be treated as such. That does not preclude the fact that this work is elevating the concept of "extreme abuse" by creating this survey. I am not so sure that it is an attack on any particular type of abuse, so that is not the issue. It is about the people that report that they have been extremely abused. I was reading late last night, but I remember seeing something in the therapist section that many reported incest as a factor in their extreme abuse... what does that have to do with governments and torture? D. Matt Innis 16:28, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Mind control

I am increasingly concerned with the use of the term "mind control", and, in particular, the redefinition of the term "thought reform", used by the respected academic psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, to mean what an apparent advocacy group calls mind control. I've read quit a bit of Lifton's work, the best known being The Nazi Doctors; I have never seen anything indicating he uses "mind control". Lifton's book title contains "thought reform", which has a well-understood meaning in Communist ideology (I can provide Mao Zedong's text) and is decidedly different than I quote from the article,

The authors of the study defined mind control as “all mind control procedures designed to make a victim follow directives of the programmer without conscious awareness.”

One advocacy site, Steven Alan Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center states (my emphasis) "Dr. Lifton's work was the outgrowth of his studies for military intelligence of Mao Tse-Tung's "thought-reform programs" commonly known as "brainwashing." In Chapter 22, Lifton outlines eight criteria for when any environment can be understood as exercising "thought-reform" or mind control. Lifton wrote that any group has some aspects of these points. However, if an environment has all eight of these points and implements them in the extreme, then there is unhealthy thought reform taking place." [3] Even accepting Hassan's reformulation, it is decidedly different than "follow[ing] directives of the programmer without conscious awareness"

The following text was removed from the talk page; if Lifton is cited, I want to see a direct quote in which he uses the term "mind control" as distinct from "thought reform":

Lifton describes eight mind control elements: milieu control, mystical manipulation or planned spontaneity, the demand for purity, the cult of confession, sacred science, loading of the language, doctrine over person and dispensing of existence.

<ref name=Lifton1989>{{cite book |title=Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China | last = Lifton | first = R.J. | year = 1989 | url = |isbn=0-8078-4255-2}}</ref> A text search on the Google Books copy of Lifton does not return the string "mind control". The individual words "mind" and "control" are present, but not together. There are numerous websites that cite Lifton and reinterpret "thought reform" to be "mind control". That is simply not justified by the evidence.

If "brainwashing" is still cited directly or indirectly as evidence of a total form of mind control, that should bring the article under the purview of the Military Workgroup, which includes such topics as psychological warfare. If the Military Workgroup does get such oversight, I will make an Editor Ruling that primary sources on Communist prison camp indoctination, in North Korea and North Vietnam, never suggest that brainwashing implies this sort of mind control. Yes, it was used to force confessions used for propaganda. While the excellent novel, The Manchurian Candidate, does have a theme of such control, I have neither seen anything in military or intelligence literature, nor had mentioned in my psychological warfare classes (e.g., Dr. Ferenc Molnar, School of International Service, The American University), nor had been suggested in my work at the Center for Research in Social Systems or from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare center.

The Central Intelligence Agency attempted to break Nguyen Tai, and failed after several years of effort. [4] Other extreme measures including the strict detention of Yuri Nosenko. [5].

Soviet "show trials" of the Great Terror of the 1930s indeed obtained dubious confessions, although some prisoners, who unquestionably were tortured and knew there was no possibility the court would acquit them, still argued innocence. (See Robert Conquest, The Great Terror) Howard C. Berkowitz 05:29, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I think this article should concentrate on the Extreme Abuse Surveys only. There are certainly responders to the survey that accuse governments of being perpetrators of extreme abuse. I don't doubt there are those that do blame governments for such actions that resulted in personality disorders - and that is what these surveys accumulate. I can imagine that some of them are totally accurate, just as I can imagine that some are imaginary and pathological fabrications from minds that were already having issues. We can't know which are which and we can't create original research to pretend to know, but we can repeat what the authors say and we can illustrate weaknesses in the studies, especially if we have an authority that can reflect this. I don't feel comfortable making a workgroup comment as I would not want to mislead you on the workgroup choices. D. Matt Innis 06:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, Matt, I cannot agree with the assertions, especially when they actively redefine Lifton. Also, I make a distinction between "extreme abuse" and "mind control". I will, very reluctantly, accept the use of extreme abuse in terms of child abuse. Speaking as one with considerable direct experience in intelligence and psychological warfare, there were certainly very serious attempts to produce a state of mind control, as in MKULTRA, North Korean POW camps, the Soviets under Beria, etc. They failed.
I do not consider it worthy of the neutrality policy to have to counter every conspiracy theory brought into CZ. I have emailed a Psychology editor with my concerns, and, specifically if the "mind control" and "brainwashing" allegations are continued, I will seek to have those terms, used in political warfare and intelligence, brought under the purview of the Military Workgroup. Get references to mind control and brainwashing out of the article and I back off the position.
There may be a survey that goes out and asks people about the aliens that controlled them, but I cannot see taking the assumption of alien or demonic possession without abundant evidence. Now, that cats may have me well trained is quite another matter. Nothing secret about that, especially when they determine it is time to be scratched, fed, or amused. When Rhonda or Mr. Clark decide to groom my beard or lick my nose, resistance is futile. The dogs use pitiful expressions and claims of imminent starvation as their technique of control. :-)
Howard C. Berkowitz 06:15, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I'm not sure what you are sorry about, I agree with you concerning the assertions and think we should fix them. Let's just try not to pretend that "extreme abuse" is a proper noun and give it any more credibility by trying to define it using well established terms. The article is about "extreme abuse surveys", a set of surveys that were performed over the internet over the last year or so... They have all kinds of responses, some of which are government related, some aren't. I haven't read them all, yet. If it's the workgroup issue that you are sorry about, I just don't want any misunderstandings to occur as a result of whether I agree with you or not. I've gone there before and got the T-shirt, no thanks :-)
It is my understanding that the neutrality policy needs to used on every article on CZ, whether about a conspiracy theory or not?
By the way, I am just acting as an author on this article.
D. Matt Innis 06:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I cannot accept that neutrality policy requires a discussion of every possible issue, with subject matter experts expected to spend their time presenting alternate views rather than writing original articles. If, when you wrote "we can repeat what the authors say and we can illustrate weaknesses in the studies, especially if we have an authority that can reflect this", I cannot accept that there is no CZ discretion in being unable to choose not to repeat the statements of dishonest authors. As far as the specific survey, if the authors cite Lifton as defining "mind control", and it can be established that Lifton's book never contained the term but used a quite different one (in the title), I have to say that I find the scholarship irretrievably flawed and the study simply not worth discussing. That's not a matter of alternate views or neutrality policy; that's a matter of intellectual dishonesty sufficient to throw serious doubt on the integrity of the surveys themselves.
Just in case that Google book search might have missed the phrase, I have the book on order through interlibrary loan. They cited Chapter 22. If Chapter 22 does not contain the phrase "mind control", and other sources are available that show that "thought reform" means something quite different than what the authors imply, where are we then? Does neutrality policy extend to falsification, or the inability to understand the sourced material? There's a legal concept of "fruit of the poisoned tree", in which material derived from tainted evidence is inadmissible. Where does that fit in neutrality policy?
I am sorry that this is happening with Neil, who seems to be a gentleman and trying to contribute. There is no reason to believe he is not accurately citing what the survey authors said. If it was his bias, then CZ: Article Deletion Policy, "the article is of such low quality (in terms of inaccuracy, bias, poor writing, or whatever) that it would be more efficient to start over than to try to clean up the current one (this also can be achieved by blanking, if one does in fact wish to start over)" would apply.
That policy, however, is not clear about what to do if the subject has severe problems with accuracy and bias. I have sent a request to a Psychology Editor as well as a Health Sciences Editor to review this matter. If the military/intelligence terms "brainwashing" and "mind control" continue to be used, or are in the surveys themselves, I shall seek a consensus that the article also falls under Military. My initial thought would be to put the jurisdictional issue to the CZ-Editors list. As I have said, if this does fall under Military, I believe a ruling can be made on the use of those specific terms, as well as the applicability of the Lifton reference. Howard C. Berkowitz 09:43, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I cannot accept that neutrality policy requires a discussion of every possible issue Remember, this page is for talk about how to improve the article. Right now, the only thing I see that can pertain to this discussion is CZ:Maintainability and Topic Choice. Notability is certainly not an issue here at Citizendium as people are allowed to write about anything they wish. But, lets leave that discussion somewhere else and concentrate on how to present "extreme abuse surveys" neutrally. Right now, I don't have any issues with any of the concerns that you have. If you want to make those changes to the article, please do and we will go from there. D. Matt Innis 15:04, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
...policy, however, is not clear about what to do if the subject has severe problems with accuracy and bias. We report on the facts the best we can and leave the rest to the reader. D. Matt Innis 15:26, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
"Remember, this page is for talk about how to improve the article." Not that alone, since, after all, an editor can recommend deletion, which sometimes equates to improvement.
It is outside the scope of how to improve the article whether or not we report or even have it. I shall merely say that I am not alone, among some active Citizens, in assuming that it is wise or practical to have articles on any controversial subject — certainly if there is a shortage of people qualified, or having the time, to point out questionable material.
The discussion of whether we should have controversial articles is what we should not be discussing here. If you want to start a thread somewhere, I'll tell you my opinion. Meanwhile, concerning whether to delete this article, we still can't get around the fact that there is an "Extreme Abuse Surveys". D. Matt Innis 16:01, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't want to go that far afield here, but I'll make a simple statement: lots of things exist. There are resource constraints if nothing else. For example, I keep not getting around to writing B83 (nuclear weapon), which is the biggest bomb in U.S. inventory. Still, unless someone else wants to do it, I'll do that sometime when I have a couple of hours to look up some sources; I might yet do a stub just from (expert) memory.
As soon as a controversial article comes in, maintaining neutrality involves more resources than the author's resources alone. There are always simple priority decisions. Shocking as it is, Larry and I probably agree there should be more about folk music. I can't speak for him, but I don't know enough about popular music to know to what alternative music is an alternative. It doesn't bother me. Now, do I want to spend my time, perhaps, adding to Hayford's articles on some big-time sixties folk groups I loved, writing about the relationship of Shaker folk music to the symphonic compositions of Aaron Copland, fact-checking things about government ritual abuse, or doing some very lengthy research in primary documents to give a CZ unique but thoroughly sourced article on some aspect of military history? Reading bad scans of the North Vietnamese Politburo theoretical journal is both hard on the eyes and jarring to the sense of writing style, but the results seem worth it.
Now, can I be comfortable that someone else will do the fact-checking I've done here, simplified, by some extent, that expertise let me know that certain sources existed, or what certain government programs were, by every serious analysis, trying to accomplish? If I don't, I am faced with wondering if CZ's integrity will be maintained. Trust me, I'd really rather not be working on this, but I also don't especially like cleaning the litter box.Howard C. Berkowitz 18:31, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Additional sourcing

I don't want to change my comments, but to add additional sourcing. One or two things are at hand in hard copy; the government document is probably online, and perhaps the Robert Conquest material is on Google Books. I will get back on POW materials. Nguyen Tai is already sourced as is Nosenko. The CIA activities used drugs and caused at least one suicide as well as long-term damage; the Soviet purges in the Great Terror exerted confessions from many, often calling for their own execution. In neither case, however, did the victims come under unconscious control. Some of the Soviet victims actively defended themselves, regardless of torture, execution of family members, etc., until they themselves were put to death.

  • Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States ("Rockefeller Commission"), June 1975. (Note: far more detail was in the subsequent Church Committee hearings, and also documents at the George Washington University National Security Archive; these all should be online). "The Testing of Behavior-Influencing Drugs on Unsuspecting Subjects Within the United States", pp. 226-228.
  • Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: a Reassessment. Chapter 5, "The Problem of Confession", pp. 109-131. Oxford University Press, 1990.

Howard C. Berkowitz 10:22, 24 January 2009 (UTC)


I removed the following section:

On January 2, 2007, the server that had the survey faced an intense amount of port scans at low and high ports and attempts to access non-existing server pages. These were carried out on a large scale. This used an enormous amount of bandwidth. The attacks diminished and after three weeks almost ended. In early March 2007, there was an attack to hack into the server, but this failed. Several attempts were also made to obtain the private data of some technicians and surveyors. The EAS survey was successfully completed on March 31, 2007.[1]
"Extreme abuse survey" produced no Google hits when paired with the North American Network Operators Group, Réseaux IP Européens (the European internet operations forum), or the Association for Computing Machinery RISKS digest. While investigations are continuing, this server attack does not appear to have been reported to any of the major Internet Service Provider operational forums.

It seems on the low side with regard to useful information. Chris Day 14:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I was having issues there as well. I don't think it has anythng to do with the actual 'surveys' themselves. If we were to delve into the issues surrounding the controversy about them, then I suppose both the claim and the fact that they aren't reported anywhere could be explained, but I don't see that as particularly necessary. D. Matt Innis 15:16, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Fine with me, with the slight caveat it adds to the conspiratorial flavor that comes across in so many ways. (switches to Computers Editor hat, the one with the propeller on top). Again, if allegations are made, I'd like to see details, correct terminology, and less drama. This is much less significant than the media kit. Still, if a controversial claim is made, if it's not removed, alternate explanations are quite within my understanding of neutrality.
"Hack into" also is a bit vague. There are some network intrusion detection appliances routinely cursed by ISP support desks, for reporting perfectly normal Internet activity that is part of the infrastructure. Repeated port scans are suggestive of reconnaissance for an attack, but they rarely don't take up a lot of bandwidth. At least in Internet server farms I design or purchase, port scans usually can be stopped at the firewall or router.
Let's put it this way...If I were trying to bring down a server, I wouldn't be using either port scans or HTTP GET(invalid page). I don't think, however, I'll discuss exactly how I might go about it. :-) Howard C. Berkowitz 15:21, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
As a compromise, I have removed the section and made it into one sentence at the end of another section. Neil Brick 19:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
What is your reasoning for having the material at all? I would note that it is not described or sourced in any way meaningful to an Internet security professional. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:52, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The reason for mentioning the material briefly is because what happened is atypical for an online study and may reflect on the issue of someone trying to keep the data from becoming public. Neil Brick 17:45, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
"May reflect on" is hypothetical, and, with a complete absence of technical detail that allows a computer security professional to judge if there was a serious attack, non-authoritative. Every day, end users call help desks claiming they are under attack, and, unless the user is knowledgeable in network security, the perceived attack may be accidental or even normal infrastructure activity. Some perceived attacks turn out, in fact, to be bad server implementation.
To give this any serious consideration, there either needs to be much more detail, or at least verification that the study team, or specific resources they consulted, were qualified to recognize a real attack against a properly protected server and access network. A port scan might have been a mild threat, but I remember taking some simple steps, in 1991, that immunized my server. Port scanning is a technique for finding vulnerabilities in a server, not for attacking it. To take examples of definite attack techniques against which any reasonable system is protected, flooding with ICMP or UDP directed broadcasts, or TCP SYNs, are attacks. Sorry, this is speculative at best.
What is your evidence, incidentally, that such probing is atypical for online services in general, not just surveys? My experience, over many years of Internet engineering, is that most new servers come under probing often within minutes of coming online. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:21, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I have added links to new articles on network reconnaissance and port scanning, which may give perspective. The articles have just begun. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Publicity by study author

I have added, to the main article, links and some content to a media kit issued by Wanda Karriker, which consists of about three-quarters of allegations about government abuses, and a relatively small amount about the study itself. The press kit itself is self-contradictory about the existence or nonexistence about documentation on the CIA ARTICHOKE/MKULTRA project; I have provided several references to it.

MKULTRA definitely existed, and at least one American government scientist died from being made an unwitting test subject for LSD as an interrogation drug. While it has been said that the records were destroyed, a considerable amount has surfaced — I was rather shocked to find that the CIA had paid for the Gorman Building at Georgetown University Medical Center, where I worked in the clinical laboratory in 1966. Georgetown provided academic cover for some of the work.

MKULTRA and related programs were eventually cancelled, because the CIA found them completely useless for the intended purpose of interrogation. If need be, I'll dig up quite a few citations. My basic point is that it makes no sense that they would have targeted children, who rarely have information of intelligence interest. Karriker, however, harps on this indeed highly illegal and immoral activity, which makes me wonder about her agenda.

The media kit. Lifton used inappropriately as a source. How much data need be presented before CZ can look at this not as a matter, under the neutrality policy, for different views about child abuse, but as what increasingly seems to be a much more general agenda by the survey team? How many inconsistencies need to be found before the question must be asked: is the survey project itself sufficiently credible to be covered? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree the media kit exposes the bias by the authors and the fact that is was read by everyone before filling out the survey creates a weakness in the validity of the of data collection, but I would feel more comfortable hearing from an expert on this. The question is how to use it. D. Matt Innis 15:20, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
It hadn't even occurred to me that the media kit would be a possible bias to respondents; since the kit reports some survey results, the survey presumably was done before the kit was issued. So, I don't think expertise in survey methodology is all that relevant. Incidentally, survey research is part of professional education in psychological warfare. It also was not exactly a strange subject when I was a political research director.
If, however, you are looking for an expert on the allegations about government programs, their intentions, and the internal contradictions between citations in the kit, I believe I qualify. Rest assured that the more information that can be located about allegations, from the survey authors, about government acts, usually by intelligence services, the stronger a case is made that the matter, like any other intelligence issue, falls into the purview of Military. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I moved the entire section to the publicity section for clarity.Neil Brick 19:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I object to that move. Indeed, I had originally had it all in the publicity section. I moved key information only to the introduction, in the interest of neutrality. I believe it is entirely appropriate to have sourced information that indicates possible bias on the part of a survey author. Removing it does not create clarity, but presents the study without any indication that it might be criticized.
You will note that the details remained in the Publicity section. The fact of the media packet, and that it dealt significantly with government programs rather than child abuse, is, I believe, highly significant. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:55, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I think that study criticism at this point should be kept in the subsection, until there is published data on this. Also, there is criticism in the intro about MeSH and PubMED data. Neil Brick 17:49, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
No, I believe the Neutrality Policy requires the early recognition of dissenting views. A good example is the homeopathy article, which required months of compromise, whose introduction does contain criticism. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:10, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Chris, did I lose your text?

I discovered I had edits open in two windows, and sleepily saved the longer one after I responded to what I think was a point of yours about adult abuse. Please check if I need more coffee.

What I think you said was that adult abuse is not part of the survey, but still exists. I agreed that "lower case" extreme abuse certainly happens to adults, as with MKULTRA. Let's be careful not to suggest that Extreme Abuse Syndrome is a recognized entity. Please double-check me; I could not get a hit in PUBMED, and no Google search on it returned anything that looked remotely peer-reviewed.

Anyone got a recent DSM-IV with supplements? I probably can't get to one until Tuesday at the earliest, assuming there is one in a local mental health center where I know some staff, but I'll probably have to play voicemail tag with one of the psychiatrists or therapists to tell the administrators where to find it if it's there--if it isn't someone's personal book at home. Ah, as a teenager, I could simply have asked my mother, if, of course, DSM existed when I was a teenager.  :-) Howard C. Berkowitz 14:20, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Everything is back now. Chris Day 14:24, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I deleted a few sentences that had no sources including opinions, but left all sourced information. Neil Brick 19:12, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Media Packet

I've looked at the media packet; it is not an account of survey findings, but issue-promoting publicity; the content comprises partisan juxtapositions of allegation, selective information and out-of-context quotations. I suggest deleting this and confining this article to a neutral account of the EAS. As a reference item it is not helpful in retrieving the survey data, and I don't think it's appropriate to reference it in the article. Maybe in the external links with a warning annotation.Gareth Leng 19:27, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree completely that it is publicity. My problem is that I don't find the EAS itself to be neutral or objective, and such a finding, if it can be supported, is part of a neutral article on it. The very fact that a study author is making such partisan statements, to me, is highly relevant to a CZ reader trying to understand if the study itself is neutral — not something to be relegated to an external link.
When you mention survey findings, remember that we don't yet have any real information on the quality of survey methodology or independent validation of the data. While I may be wrong, it appears that the respondents self-selected, which is an exceptionally questionable design given, at best, that the respondents, by definition, are traumatized. Now, if a study author is partisan, does that not throw further question on whether the study was intended to be objective? Is that not legitimate in a neutral article about the study? Do we routinely have articles on political polls that are intended to support the candidate's campaign, rather than opinion polls done by reputable research firms whose methodology can be validated? Howard C. Berkowitz 20:23, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'll keep watching and thinking. Gareth Leng 21:11, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking that the only way to neutrally organize this article is to give a brief description of the EAS and its stated purpose and how they did it and use it as a subpage to some larger article concept. The data was received from self-registration of participants after reading a 'media package', which was definitely biased. The question is whether these same people would have responded had they not been promised 'validation for what they have gone through'. The interesting thing is that 'care givers' and 'therapists' responded as well and pretty specifically about 'ritual abuse' and 'mind control' (though it isn't clear by whom as incest was also relatively high on the list). Regardless, the story here, as Howard suggests, would have to include that it could be catering to conspiracy theorists - but the data received could still illuminate something - if not only that these people did or did not report similar symptoms... I think it is obvious that they are in the stage of 'disseminating' the information, but I am still not sure what conclusions that they are disseminating, other than people and therapists have reported abuse by others. I definitely would like your opinion on that. D. Matt Innis 23:26, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Subarticle, rather than subpage? One approach might be to make this a subarticle of child abuse, but there's an issue of doing so: the EAS uses definitions that do not appear to be part of the peer-reviewed literature on child abuse. Even the child abuse articles uses more website links and less literature references than I would like; it's not that the latter are not available. Note the National Academy of Sciences report on pseudoscience specifically addresses and deprecates ritual abuse and recovered memory techniques (at least using hypnosis), and it's not the only mainstream source that does so. If the EAS uses definitions different than the "parent article" (perhaps an unfortunate term in this specific context), reconciliation will be difficult; the EAS give the impression that to discuss it, one must accept its definitions.
If the EAS also cites Lifton for its definitions, and the cited chapter of Lifton simply does not contain the alleged concepts, what then? Would a peer-reviewed journal accept an article that misrepresents its fundamental source of definitions? So far, Google Books search of the chapter cited does not return "mind control", the term used by the EAS. Lifton does use "thought reform", which means something quite different and not applicable to children. I do have the physical book on order through interlibrary loan but don't know when I will get it; I can find other references that indicate that "thought reform", part of Lifton's title, has a generally accepted meaning in the Asian Communist context about which he was writing.Howard C. Berkowitz 00:02, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the cleanup on my post :-)
I think subarticle would be a better classification. But more likely linking to something like the ritual abuse or even, as much as I hate to mention it, articles about torture and/or satanic rituals.
The significance of the terminology is not that it is 'incorrect', it is just the terminology that this survey series used. I doubt anyone who thought that they had been 'extremely abused' would answer a survey that called it 'thought reform'. Perhaps, though I am only thinking out loud, the authors are very much aware of Lifton's terminolgy and consider it a less disagreeable nomenclature for the same thing - they themselves preferring to use the nomenclature that the people would respond to.
I'll keep reading. D. Matt Innis 02:38, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
That they might prefer to use a term is not intellectually defensible in a serious study, at least if they redefine the source to the extent they apparently did. "Thought reform" is quite different than "mind control", as the authors explicitly define the latter: "“all mind control procedures designed to make a victim follow directives of the programmer without conscious awareness". Note the circularity of that definition, defining mind control in terms of "mind control procedures".
I can't cite Lifton on mind control, because, at least with the Google Books search, ever use the term "mind control" in the cited Chapter 22. There are a number of partisans that suggest what he discussed was mind control, but, at least from the online text available from Lifton, what he discussed is quite different than the EAS authors' definition of it. Again, I have the book on order but I don't know when it will arrive. I have, incidentally, read a good deal of Lifton's other works, especially The Nazi Doctors and The Genocidal Mentality. Those deal with volitional adoption of ideologies.
Thought reform is not uncommon in Asian Communist ideological writing, and it is quite different than the EAS authors' definition of mind control. For example, see Mao Zedong's "Comment On P’eng Te-huai’s Letter Of 9 September" [6]
A seminal paper on "brainwashing" and what it achieved in the Korean War was Biderman's "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War" [7] (full text).Howard C. Berkowitz 03:18, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Thought reform is not uncommon in Asian Communist ideological writing, and it is quite different than the EAS authors' definition of mind control. For example, see Mao Zedong's "Comment On P’eng Te-huai’s Letter Of 9 September" [8] I suppose P'eng might consider himself a victim of mind control via ritual abuse (if they have those words :-) D. Matt Innis 04:15, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Big change :-)

Matt, please believe that I'm laughing at the moment, but I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. In one respect, your edits were quite good, in identifying that mind control and ritual abuse are key to the premises of the EAS authors. Why am I not surprised that those are pink links?

If I may be forgiven an Aggie joke, and, if there are any Texas A&M alumni reading, I'll try not to use big words, there is a story that asks the question, "If a $100 bill were placed in the center of a room, which had, in its corners, a dumb Aggie, Santa Claus, a smart Aggie, and the tooth fairy, who would pick up the money? Since three of them do not exist, the answer is obvious."

Now, does someone have to go write articles on ritual abuse and mind control, where there is abundant expert opinion that they don't exist but fervent partisan argument they do, in order to be able to give "opposition" to the EAS premises? While I am intimately familiar with subjects such as psychological warfare and human-source intelligence, I can't go off and write an article on "ritual abuse" or "mind control", since the very title tends to perpetuate the logic. Please do not take this as a Godwinism but as a historical reference; history is replete with ritual abuse accusations such as the use, by Jews, to use Christian blood to make matzo. There have been show trials of ritual child abuse in the U.S. courts (and probably others), which were eventually thrown out.

Try it from a different perspective. Would there be any problem in writing an article (other than perhaps family friendliness) on child pornography or pedophiliac sex tourism? Is it so unreasonable to expect a similar standard of evidence for ritual child abuse? I could write an article on POW camp indoctrination; there's also evidence on coerced confessions and severe psychological damage. Is it so unreasonable to expect a similar standard of evidence for mind control? Yeah, yeah, I know, there's no evidence because The Government is suppressing it.

Incidentally, special operations helicopters are real, but they aren't black. They are a very dark matte gray; pure black actually stands out against night. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:43, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

That is funny, but you had no idea that my father was an Aggie, did you :-) I agree that Lifton and the rest of the 'smart people' don't use the term 'mind control', but I am pretty sure you won't find the words Divine Intervention in the biology book either. The public uses 'mind control' and I think very much has a definition in mind. And that is the point, that there are people out there that think that they are victims of mind control and answered this survey specifically because they used the words mind control and ritual abuse - not all are at the hands of governments (though I guess we are all technically under some form of mind control :-). The question is whether this survey found a way to 'quanitify and qualify' them... I'm not thinking that they did... and that may be what the article needs to say.
I do feel a little sorry for those guys that are going to try and write the mind control and ritual abuse articles, but I suppose we could just link them like this rutual abuse :-D. Matt Innis 04:00, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Do remember that my personal domain is Any relationship to Coincidence? You decide. BWAHAHA!
[[User:Howard C. Berkowitz|rutual abuse]] Now if that isn't a Freudian typo...
Aggie jokes are adaptable. When I speak to medical audiences, I sometimes ask if there are any orthopedists present. If I get a yes, I assure them I'll speak slowly.
Seriously, though, are we public-guided or expert-guided? Yes, I know that it's a hybrid, but I am not at all convinced CZ should be setting priorities based on popular usage. If we do, I first want to see the article on how to increase government services while decreasing spending. (Mind you, Pope John XXIII responded to the question "How many people work in the Vatican" with "about a third").
Why would we be writing about divine intervention in a biology book? Honest, Matt, I'd really rather be working on the Ho Chi Minh article, especially since I have some interlibrary loan materials for only a couple of days more. I'm doing this not because it's intellectually enjoyable, but it's a matter of what I regard as my Citizen duty for integrity. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:19, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
[[User:Howard C. Berkowitz|rutual abuse]] Now if that isn't a Freudian typo... Ah, dangit!
Why would we be writing about divine intervention in a biology book? NO.. that was Freudian! Or should I say Divine Intervention because I meant Intelligent Design :-) Bed time!! You are controlling my mind, or abusing it. D. Matt Innis 04:42, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I've made a few minor changes to make the language more neutral.Neil Brick 05:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Lifton reference

The book is now in my hands. Chapter 22 never uses the phrase "mind control". The title of the chapter, and the core term discussed, is "ideological totalism."

Indeed, "mind control" does not appear in the book's index. He does speak of "brainwashing":

Behind this web of semantic (and more than semantic) lies an image of "brainwashing" as an all-powerful, irresistible, unfathomable and magical method of achieving total control over the human mind. It is of course none of those things, and this loose usage makes the word a rallying point for fear, resentment, irresponsible accusation, and for a wide gamut of emotional extremism. One may justifiably conclude the term has a far from precise and a questionable usefulness; one ay even be tempted to forget about the whole subject and return to more constructive pursuits.(page 4)

In fact, in Chapter 22, he makes the point that the criteria are to be used for judging things that are matters of degree:

I wish to suggest a set of criteria against which any environment can be judged — a basis for answering the ever-recurring question, "Isn't this just like 'brainwashing'?"

Far be it a matter of unconscious control, as the EAS authors suggest, Lifton discusses extensively the desire of the subject to please the ideological authority; the actions are quite conscious.

No milieu ever achieves complete totalism, and many relatively moderate environments show some signs of it.

Note the quoted word above, which I italicized. Again, I have to ask: if the EAS authors so misrepresent the source they cite, how credible is any of their work? Note that I am not addressing whether child abuse exists, but the emphasis, both in the study and media kit, on "mind control." Howard C. Berkowitz 23:56, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your research on this. The Lifton citation was added by me independent of the EAS researchers to help define the term. So the mistake lies with me and not the EAS people. Neil Brick 02:53, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
No problem. Let's not use that reference then. We don't want to put words in Lifton's mouth... especially if he would disagree with himself. ;-) Howard, just send the bill for that book to Hayford. D. Matt Innis 03:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Matt! Hayford has just taken some major hits over the last couple of months in what he (and everyone else) considered to be impregnable stocks (and, more importantly, their dividends) and is now wondering if he will have enough cash to buy (at wholesale) a couple of wormy apples and pencil stubs to peddle on the nearest street corner.... Hayford Peirce 03:52, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't suppose, Hayford, you'd be interested in my 10,000 share option on Nortel stock at $65?
As far as a book, just a loan from Cape Cod Community College. Incidentally, although I don't always agree with him, Lifton is a superb writer, so I will read the full book now that I have it. He has put The Nazi Doctors online, which is a profound piece of work.
Seriously, I do note, in web searches, that mind control ...advocates? (doesn't sound right) ... have quite a few websites citing Lifton and saying "what he really meant was..."
I'm very torn here, trying to decide why we are seriously discussing an article on this survey, not, for example, its basic theories and assumptions.
There are people that absolutely believe in all sorts of things. Is that within the scope of CZ and its resources? Really, I don't especially want to go and write an article on "all the attempts to achieve mind control that failed". Ignoring the press kit aspects, there's a plausibility test: why would a government want to go to extremes to control the minds of children?
Is there child abuse? Absolutely. Would I be raising these questions about the utility of this article if, for example, it were examining commercial child pornography and sex tourism? Probably not. Large-scale ritual abuse? Plausibility test again. Somewhere around here, I have Anton Levey's Satanic Bible. Can't speak to the Temple of Set, but I have read Satanic literature and spoken with "out" Satanists. It rather baffles them why anyone would think they would try to abuse children, because if they were doing ritual abuse within their theological ideas of power, the victim would be the most powerful person they could find.
In the not unrelated literature of consensual sexual dominance and submission, where they speak of "power exchange", both dominants and submissives speak of wanting a submissive to be an able person. The phrase frequently used is "why would I want to exchange power with someone that doesn't have any?"
Ritual power exchange exists, and, in some societies, nonconsensually. Child abuse exists. The problem is that with what is generally accepted about the motivations of child abuse, ritual abuse doesn't fit very well.
Discussing this study seems to imply a degree of agreement that it is measuring data about various causality and intentionality that have little external validation. I simply don't see the point of an article about it; I don't see how the study can be seriously discussed apart from its assumptions. If there must be a discussion of ritual abuse, deal with it as ritual abuse, rather than getting snarled in the micro-view of a specific study.
Sorry, Neil. I think you are a sincere person, but I simply do not see this study as worth an article, certainly before articles on its axioms. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Lets not prolong this

We need a resolution here.

Should there be an article on this given the lack of other core articles? If that were the only reason the answer is obvious, yes - we can't build an encyclopedia with multiple collaborators on logical principles, we have to accept that for a long time many articles will exist without articles that define their context.

Is the subject appropriate? We can have short articles on very small topics; I don't see a problem in principle.

The problem is that the premisses of the study are questionable - the argument is that the study methodology and hence its conclusions are intrinsically unreliable, that it is not an objective study but one designed to promote a conspiracy theory without solid foundation. The problem with that is that this particular study seems to have been ignored by professionals, so sourced criticism is not out there. But there is well sourced skepticism about the true extent of organised satanic abuse for example

I think a possible resolution would be to have a very short paragraph at the end explaining that the study has not been accorded wide credibility by professional and academic groups; that self-report studies like this are notoriously unreliable, that memories of abuse are also unreliable, and that there is considerable skepticism about many of the study premisses. But this outrageous link worries me [9]. Frankly, this makes me think we should drop the article completely, if a skeptical view is going to be characterised as promoting abuse.

My suggestion is to insert a short skeptical paragraph summarising these issues and then stop there; freeze the article until the context develops.Gareth Leng 10:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Gareth, I think you are dealing with real issues in the broad picture of CZ integrity and development, within resources available. One of my regrets is that Neil seems to be a sincere gentleman that would like to collaborate. Trust me, Neil — after some much less pleasant working relationships on other controversial topics, you are a breath of fresh air. I hope you can separate our concerns about this particular article and its place in the current CZ environment with at least my hope we can work together on other subjects of interest. Howard C. Berkowitz 10:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, I certainly don't want to discourage either Neil here or you Howard. I'd like to see a swift and fair outcome.

I have deleted the sentence about server attacks; I did so because it seemed impossible to draw any conclusions from that; the attack may have been random vandals, may have been from an angry victim of false allegations, may have been from a sinister souce - who can know? Including it begs a question.Gareth Leng

I've just looked up the first reference, and I'm afraid the full title, and actual quoted text, do support the idea that the purpose of the study is to promote a comspiracy theory. Just as a note of clarification, there may be some confusion between this letter, from Carol Rutz, and the media kit from Wanda Karriker; some earlier comments seemed to suggest the media kit was the solicitation. It appears, however, that was the role of the Rutz letter. Howard C. Berkowitz 10:39, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I had deleted the server attack section too. I guess it got replaced. I believe it is not relevant to the survey, even if it is true, and even that is not clear.
With regard to the context of this article I do think the subject is of interest in a wider context. Clearly there is a lot of interesting work done on the child soldiers that have been recruited (press-ganged) by warlords and rebels. Often their parents are murdered in front of them and their allegiance to the murderers is surprisingly strong. I have also seen research on young elephants whose parents were killed by poachers that have some similar psychotic behaviours, often being termed "rogue". Interestingly to rehabilitate the rogue elephants the conservationists borrowed many of the therapy plans developed for the boy soldiers (i know I'm getting away from the point here but see the excellent article in the NYTimes, especially the bit about Felicity de Zulueta, a psychiatrist at Maudsley Hospital in London who treats victims of extreme trauma, among them former child soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army.) Clearly this current article does not explore this wider context and this survey itself does not seem to warrant its own article but should be part of a broader perspective. I think this is especially true given the stated goal of the survey is "exploring international commonalities regarding the types of abuse". Chris Day 16:37, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
After that rambling, i guess I want to see how this study fits with other similar work. To have one article on this alone seems so out of context it is hard to understand its meaning or relevance. Chris Day 16:45, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
While I don't want to delve into the broad topic of child soldiers, that's a valid level of coverage, I believe, for an article. Even by the standards of African terror groups, most analysts consider the Lord's Resistance Army nastier than most. Nevertheless, there are several broad categories of motivation for child soldiers, but very few involve the passive role suggested in ritual abuse. Most work — and there is a lot in military social science — shows that there is some, often perverse, level of empowerment in the process; it's often culturally specific.
I hope that addresses your point, Chris. No one would seriously argue that child soldiers don't exist. There is a large body of literature, and a good deal addresses the issue that the soldier gains a sense of power that tends to be absent in, say, sexual abuse by trusted persons. It would be quite possible to have a well-developed article on the child soldier issue.
It is also possible to understand many of the dynamics of the child sexual abuser, without approving them in any way. It is, thus, possible to have a reasoned article on the sexual abuse of children. Part of the problem with the ritual abuse allegations is a failure to connect the allegation of abuse to the theology, etc., of the group supposedly doing the abuse. It is far less clear why Freemasons or Satanists (two unrelated groups that have been accused) would be motivated to perform such acts. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:42, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Howard, I'm not sure what my point was its hard to articulate. Possibly I am feeling that an article that generates more questions than understanding is a little odd for an encyclopedia. Chris Day 17:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Ummm...yes. That it is hard to articulate the concern about a subject is, in and of itself, raises the point that the subject may be ill-defined. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Unlike wikipedia, notability is not a concern while CZ:Maintainability and CZ:Neutrality Policy are the only things that limit our writing. Not every one here is capable or interested in writing science or math articles. If we limit ourselves to those articles, then we will limit the number of authors that will care to edit here. If we want hundreds of busy people working happily on hundreds of articles all over Citizendium, then we should certainly have articles on all of these. The bottom line is that if Neil started this article and if we can get it neutral, there really is no reason 'not' to have it. Therefore, I agree with Chris and Gareth's suggestion of writing the skeptical paragraph and moving on. D. Matt Innis 01:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
What has science and math have to do with it? I haven't counted, but I may well have written more words about history and broad, policy and doctrinal aspects about the military than in my "official" fields. Matt, if we can get it neutral is the key question. How much time, of how many other people, is going to be needed to get it neutral? How much of that time could have been devoted to new content, on things perhaps more likely to bring in new readers, than agonizing over getting something to neutrality/
Notability is a partial, but certainly not my only, concern. Another is intellectual integrity, not Neil's but the study itself, just as I'd question taking any highly partisan subject out of a political platform and "getting it neutral". Please believe me that the only reason I am involved here is caring about the integrity of Citizendium; if I had wanted to write on this subject, I probably would have done so.
If someone gets that paragraph written and things freeze, and we don't get the kind of criticism that Gareth identified when this topic was criticized, great! I certainly have no desire, however, to spend much of my time "getting things neutral." I'm sure you could have hundreds of people writing happily on their issue, but I don't think I'd be one of them if I saw the major future spent on neutralizing rather than creating. This is exactly one of those cases where an ideal of neutrality runs into very real resource constraints. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:45, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not gonna take very much more to get it neutral, so I don't think we have to worry about expending much more energy on it. Matt's point is that if we're gonna be "inclusionists" here in CZ, which is certainly my own stance, then the key point is getting the facts straight in all our articles AND getting them presented in an neutral fashion. Hayford Peirce 03:11, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Matt, I'm not really discussing notability issues above but context issues. My confusion is the why was the survey done and what were its goals. I don't think there is a clear picture in the context of other work in this area. As I am not an expert I am at a loss to fill this gap. Chris Day 03:40, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

In reply, the fact is that some skeptics of child sexual abuse occurrences have what could be called pro-pedophilia philosophies, such as Ralph Underwager or Richard Gardner or have been producers of child pornography, such as the Eberles. (I can produce references to back this up.) The FMSF has a long history of misrepresenting data and defending accused and convicted pedophiles. Historically, most of the original skepticism around child sexual abuse has come from these groups of people. So stating that some skeptics could possibly be accused of attempting to cover up sexual abuse crimes is not so far fetched.
The statement that "memories of abuse are also unreliable" has been debated by various sources. These urls: “Studies vary in frequency. Between 31 and 64 percent of abuse survivors in six major studies reported that they forgot “some of the abuse.” Numbers reporting severe amnesia ranged from under 12% to 59%….Studies report 50-75% of abuse survivors corroborating the facts of their abuse through an outside source." “Although the science is limited on this issue, the only three relevant studies conclude that repressed memories are no more and no less accurate than continuous memories"

as well as many more studies show relatively high veracity rates for recovered memories.
I would be against adding a short skeptical paragraph for two reasons -
1) It is outside the scope of the article, and would not directly reflect on the research
2) The comments already made exposing possible author bias have been enumerated upon in the article, are related and well sourced.
I had restored the "attack" section in a much shorten form from the original. Originally it was an entire section. I shortened it to one sentence as a compromise. I believe that it is historically significant, due to the severe harassment several researchers in the child abuse field have experienced from FMSF members. The most notable and written about in the scientific literature include David Calof and Anna Salter. I can provide references for these as well. I am open to edits on the one sentence, but not the entire deletion of it.
I do appreciate the congeniality and professionalism of all of the editors involved. It is a breath of fresh air from other places on the Internet. My hope is that we can continue to work on bettering the article in this spirit as needed.Neil Brick 04:19, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Neil, I also appreciate the attitudes. Some of your points might indeed be relevant if there were an article on child sexual abuse. No one at CZ, as far as I can tell, is objecting to the existence of child sexual abuse or child pornography, but those are not the subject of this article. I do believe there is objection to both ritual abuse, and to the vagueness of "extreme abuse". Your citations above deal more with arguments for the various practices/syndrome, not the survey. "So stating that some skeptics could possibly be accused of attempting to cover up sexual abuse crimes is not so far fetched." could be true, but it's outside the scope of an article on the survey. I am perfectly willing to agree that the existence of systematic child pornography and child sexual tourism is thoroughly established, but I have the sense that is not to what you refer.
My most basic problem is I don't know how to discuss the study meaningfully without
  1. A generally accepted, preferably in peer-reviewed literature, definition of extreme child abuse. Otherwise, I find it's very hard to discuss the survey without admitting to the existence of that syndrome, which I do not.
  2. It would be easier to discuss the survey if the discussion were narrowed to extreme abuse, calling it a definition by the authors and not in general professional use. I am going to object much more intensely, however, if the discussion of the survey starts bringing in Satanic ritual abuse, recovered memory syndrome and the authors' definition of mind control.
I'll be quite frank and say that I don't think the article should be in CZ, but that's nothing I have any power to enforce. The only way, however, to get the article to be at all broadly accepted is to stay as close to the survey itself, and no other issues. Personally, I don't know how to do that. When a survey is introduced as a way to justify a position, it's no longer what I think of as a "survey" in a social science sense. Testimony of some sort, perhaps to go to a political process? Perhaps. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:37, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
The attacks are in a different category. First, they aren't described well enough that an expert in computer security can figure out what was done and the seriousness of a threat; a port scan, for example, is not a serious threat. Second, virtually every Internet server is subject to probing and attacks, often automated, and often within minutes of its becoming connected. In other words, I have yet to see anything in the attacks that seem significant in a broad Internet context -- there are Forum discussions about how the Citizendium servers were attacked.
I agree with this - "The only way, however, to get the article to be at all broadly accepted is to stay as close to the survey itself, and no other issues." I think we should let the article publications speak for themselves, good and bad, which is what we have been doing. Neil Brick 05:28, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

don't understand where the first indented quote came from

I'm an outsider here, with no interest at all in this article, but I've been glancing at it from time to time because of all the discussion about it.

What I don't understand is this: there's an opening paragraph. Fine. I understand that. Then there's a big block of text that's indented. It has a footnote #1 at the end. Apparently it comes from Carol someone. Fine, too, I guess.

BUT -- there should be text in the first paragraph that TELLS stupes like me WHAT this quotation is. Ie, at the end of the first paragraph, there should be a sentence that reads something like: "As the research psychologist Carol Doudoune rewrites in her seminal study for the United States Treasure Department:"

And THEN have the quotation....

Or am I missing something here? Hayford Peirce 15:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I moved that block quote to the Methodolgy section. D. Matt Innis 02:24, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Extreme Abuse Surveys or Extreme abuse surveys?

Okie, which is it? With caps or without? I did a Google that didn't really return very much except the stuff we're using here as sources: Most of the hits used Extreme Abuse Survey as being the actual name of the studies. If this is the case, then the article's title should be in caps, just as War and Peace is mostly in caps, not War and peace. Hayford Peirce 03:03, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

To me it seems that Rutz is flipping between Extreme Abuse Survey and Survivor Survey. Are these synonymous? In other places extreme abuse is just being used to describe the content of the survey not the title. I lean toward lower case but Rutz does use upper case in her letter. Basically its not clear. Chris Day 03:30, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd say we should use the proper name Extreme Abuse Surveys, which we can write about neutrally - including that the authors definition of extreme abuse is vague and not a standard use. Otherwise we continue the circular reasoning that Howard and I have been going through for three days. D. Matt Innis 03:43, 30 January 2009 (UTC)


What is the point of mentioning internet attacks? In its current form it just reads like paranoia. Such a comment needs to have the context of a motive and solid evidence. Currently there appears to be neither. Worse, with the respect of trying to get the best possible article, it appears to be completely off topic. Neil, what is your rationale for including this section, you have returned it twice now so you obviously feel strongly about this. Chris Day 04:42, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

If we are going to make a statement like that, we need a reference, too. D. Matt Innis 04:56, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
In particular, if you talk about attack modes, describe things that are normally considered attacks by computer security people. port scans are not destructive, although they alert that someone may be planning to attack. The port scan would merely tell you, for example, that there is a web server at port 80; the resource attack (obsolete type) might be SYN-FLOOD directed at port 80 and port 80 only, or crafted malicious HTML messages, etc.. While there is a difference between high and low ports, it doesn't have much relevance to scanning or attacks.
Matt, if you are referring to the attack modes, we have one of those interesting issues of editor vs. workgroup. If this article were in the Computers Workgroup, if I ruled on attack modes, I doubt any other Editor would question such a ruling as other than generally accepted expert knowledge in the field. If I'm going to write in any detail about attack modes, I'd do so in a technical article and cite there. Unfortunately, in the specific case of port scans, since it's not an actual attack technique, I'd probably have to source that it's a form of reconnaissance. Some people call TCP-SYN attacks port scans, but they are a different attack vector that may be targeted by a scan. I suppose I can update information security; the documentation on any open source network intrusion detection system such as SNORT; etc. Again, I face the problem of trying to argue against an inherently flawed statement.
I'm not trying to be facetious or sarcastic: is anyone else here familiar with running and detecting port scans? Howard C. Berkowitz 05:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Here's the actual quote from ritual abuse in the 21st century on this
"On the evening of January 2, 2007, the server faced an intense amount of port scans at the high and low ports and also attempts to access non-existing server pages by checking a variety of filenames. For a few days afterwards, the nameserver was addressed with several requests (ping, nslockup and trace) carried out on a large scale. This used an enormous amount of bandwidth, rendering the server at stake due to this loss. In the first weeks, our provider's own web projects had an unusually high amount of traffic suggesting that unknown people wanted to learn more about those working on the survey.
Fortunately, the attacks gradually diminished and after three weeks almost ended. In early March, there was another attempt to hack the server by someone trying to connect to the Microsoft Frontpage serverports which are part of the Microsoft Internet Information Server. Since we did not use these ports, this attack failed. Parallel to these incidents, third parties made several attempts to obtain the private data of some surveyors and technicians. Neil Brick 05:41, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't want to get into a technical analysis here, but the provider, server administrator, or both are not especially experienced if this actually produced a problem. Ping requests, in best current practices, are rate-limited at the router. They are not used in modern malware attacks. If I were running a provider and had this problem, I'd simply block the Internet Control Message Protocol at the router interface to the Internet, which is done in hardware. I'd then work with the ISPs from which it was coming; they don't want bandwidth floods either. "Suggesting" about "unknown persons" is something where the authors have no demonstrated expertise.
As I've said previously, however, probes are quite common against any new servers. When someone hacks into a web server and defaces the home page with a political slogan, it might indicate they know what they are doing. Sorry, this is my field. Even if all of these protocol events took place, they should not have much effect on a well-implemented provider. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Howard, if you think this is a non-issue from a technical perspective, then we really don't have anything special here, other than a side issue. Maybe a subpage if anything, but we don't even know if it was government as seems to be implied when it is just as likely to be the result of some extremely abused hacker - or even just a hacker. I'll remove it. Neil, if you find something more subsatntial, feel free to re-introduce the idea again here on the talk page. D. Matt Innis 18:17, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Is this survey real?

Just to mention, I cannot find any academic peer reviewed paper from these authors, nor anything about the extreme abuse survey from a government or US university source. I also cannot find anything in about the extreme abuse survey. This doesn't necessarily mean the survey isn't good or legitimate, but just that it has not been subject to peer review. I'll see if I can take a look at the survey some time. I'm a sociologist, and one of my areas is survey research. Gene Shackman 16:55, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Gene, this article was somewhat arbitrarily assigned to the Psychology Workgroup, and we haven't been able to get a Psychology Editor involved. Ideally, there would be expertise both from the individual experience, but also looking at the group phenomenon of belief in organized abuse. I doubt there would be much objection if Sociology, if you felt it relevant, were added to the workgroups here. An Editor would be very helpful for this and related articles, if you'd like to get your feet wet. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:13, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Gene, that's what I was looking for and I agree with Howard that if this is something that you feel that you and even the Socialogy Workgroup see as under their purview, we sure would appreciate some guidance here. D. Matt Innis 20:48, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

A few methodological questions

First, can someone help me out by getting this text out of the dark box at the bottom of the talk section?

Now to the methods.

It is very difficult to determine the validity of this survey with such a brief methods section. It would help a great deal if this section described things like:

  1. how the survey was pretested, on what population,
  2. how the authors came up with the questions to use,
  3. who were the therapists and survivors that the survey was disseminated to. No, I don't mean names, but how were they found, was there some sort of list, was it that the announcement was sent to people the authors knew, who then sent it people who they knew (this is snowball sampling)
  4. Did the survey have any other kind of validity? Face validity just means that the questions LOOKED like they measured what they were supposed to measure. More important would be construct, criterion, content validity. For example see this page for a brief discussion of validity.
  5. Any measures of reliability?

Similarly, it would be helpful if there were a discussion section, which would deal with some possible limitations of the study. For example, it seems very likely that the sample of people who took the survey was very self selected. This has implications, like that it is likely that the survey cannot be generalized to any other group of people.

This book chapter, cited in the CZ entry has some more details (if this link works.)

The method is that Rutz sent an email to people on her email list, asking them to forward the announcement to anyone else they could think of. This is, as I mentioned above, a snowball sample.

The use of this method means that the results cannot be generalized, and in addition, it is possible that the respondents do not represent the population of people who were subject to extreme abuse. Many people who were victims may never have received this announcement and so did not respond. The beginning of this CZ entry states the purpose is "exploring international commonalities regarding the types of abuse, their aftereffects, and the methods of healing that have been most effective." Given the limitations of the methods, it seems unlikely that these goals can be met. The study cannot really identify the methods of healing that have been most effective (there isn't any control groups, no random assignment, no experimental design, no quasi-experimental design). Due to the small sample size in many countries, the study cannot determine international commonalities.

However, there is much of value in this study. The phenomena under study, extreme abuse, is not something that generates lists of populations, and is not something in which victims can be easily found. Thus conventional sampling is probably difficult if not impossible, and the sampling method used is probably the best one for this topic, at the moment.

The value of this study is that it is a preliminary study, where, apparently, there has been no other study so far. The results of this study can be used to generate further research, to point out what might be useful to look at, to generate further research questions.

The authors should try to get this published in a peer reviewed journal, so to get further professional review and feedback. The topic is important, and needs further study. Gene Shackman 05:21, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Gene. First, I did a little text editing of your comments. As far as the dark box, I think that's just an effect of the page formatting "skin" and shades whatever is the last entry; this text below yours should lighten the material.
One of the controversies about this article is the extent to which preliminary, and possibly biased, work is truly the kind of material that belongs in a nonspecialist encyclopedia. You speak of the phenomenon being observed as "extreme abuse". The term is not defined in Medical Subject Headings, and does not return hits in MEDLINE. Google reveals a great many websites and organizations that refer to it, as well as "mind control". The advocacy groups appear often to exchange "mind control" with "thought reform", a term of art in psychological warfare/Communist ideology, which really is a very different concept. These groups also spend much time discussing recovered memory methods and Satanic ritual abuse, which also have little general recognition; see pseudoscience, and, in particular, the National Academy of Sciences references.
We prohibit original research by authors, although we do, with careful review, allow original synthesis. This article doesn't quite fall into either, but has a substantial amount of speculation that extreme abuse is a distinct syndrome (as distinct from dissociative identity disorder), and the existence of large-scale Satanic ritual abuse groups, as well as large-scale government experimentation on children. Indeed, another article, Hell Minus One, focuses on an anecdotal account of Satanic ritual. Was there government experimentation on attempted "mind control"? Absolutely. Was it given up as infeasible? Yes; I have some fairly extensive sourced material in my sandbox, and am also updating the torture article. Is there any strong evidence that the governments even would have a motivation to concentrate on children rather than adults? No, and the verifiable documentation on indeed unethical and likely criminal research shows it focused on adults, who would have information of interest to intelligence organizations.
To me, the focus on the survey, rather than the phenomenon, is an advocacy position for existence of the phenomen(a), which it assumes as a given. One gets into philosophical issues about the content of encyclopedias: is that a way of avoiding a balanced article addressing multiple assumptions made by the study? Howard C. Berkowitz 08:51, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Hi Howard. I think that posting questions about validity doesn't necessarily imply a position on whether the phenomena is real. Rather, I am asking for information about validity to see whether the phenomena is real. If the extreme abuse survey at least is a real survey, then there should be some good validity information. If the survey or phenomena is not real, there won't be good validity information.
For your other concerns, I was wondering about original research too. I'm not clear on whether this entry was original research or just a review of existing 'research'. I guess that's something for CZ to decide. ...said Gene Shackman (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
Very good points on validity. I see you are doing some other work on survey research, where selection bias, I'd imagine, will be covered. The more that this survey is treated as any other survey, so that if, hypothetically, its methodology and validation is comparable to a political poll seeking support for a position, the more neutral the statements can be. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:10, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree we're on the right path. There is no question that the survey exists, it's just whether there is any validity to it. That is what our article should be about (since we now have an expert involved). Keep going. D. Matt Innis 22:06, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Good work

Nice work, Gene. Very thoughtful and neutral and exactly what we needed. Thanks! We've got more ;-) D. Matt Innis 04:42, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Technical question: "the target population of the study was defined as all survivors of extreme abuse." If extreme abuse is not generally defined, how does one judge validity? The snowball request was not exactly what I would call a neutral hypothesis test, but a leading question that would throw great doubt in, for example, a political opinion poll that actually wanted to know opinion. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:45, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Howard, the introduction to the main page says "Extreme abuse is defined by the survey authors as abuse that includes torture, threats, confinements, violence, and other types of unlawful or immoral exploitation that the children in the studies may have undergone, resulting in debilitating aftereffects." ...said Gene Shackman (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
I understand how they define it. I still question how it is considered externally valid, in the literature, when:
  • The syndrome, as far as I know, is not defined in any standard reference such as MeSH or DSM-IV
  • The language is very imprecise. "Immoral"? "Unlawful?" (by what moral code and what law? While it's difficult, there are legal definitions of torture, and even medical examining criteria such as the Istanbul Protocol from the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:48, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I got interrupted in the middle of my comment and had to leave. But you raise valid points. Some of the above definition is unclear, like immoral. I guess that is what external or concurrent validity would check, if this survey correlated somehow with some other indicator of something similar. I personally don't know the literature so I wouldn't say there isn't any definition of extreme abuse, just because it's an area I know nothing about. But you could add that point. I can also add in that the literature about the extreme abuse survey doesn't give info about external validity so it's not clear whether it measures extreme abuse. Gene Shackman 23:27, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
FYI, "extreme abuse" gives no hits on MEDLINE, which I thought I had in the article but will double-check. As far as I could tell on Google, there were no hits on anything that looked academic or institutional research. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:47, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

literature on extreme abuse

This is just temporary stuff, looking for previous literature on extreme abuse. I'm not sure to what extent these studies relate to the 'extreme abuse' discussed in the main CZ article about the extreme abuse survey.

Child Abuse Negl. 1995 Apr;19(4):433-47. Physical abuse in Canadian runaway adolescents. Janus MD, Archambault FX, Brown SW, Welsh LA. says "The data reported suggest that this population of adolescents have been the victims of chronic, extreme abuse, experienced at a young age"

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2006;18(2-3):17-32. Implicit theories of elder abuse in a sample of European-American descent. Rapoza KA. says "asking them to give examples of behaviors considered in their culture to be extremely abusive, moderately abusive, and mildly abusive in the context of an adult child-older adult parent dyad."

J Elder Abuse Negl. 2006;18(2-3):33-50. English perceptions of elder abuse. Daskalopoulos M, Mullin AS, Donovan E, Suzuki H. says "Fifty participants (14 males, 46 females) provided examples of extreme, moderate, and mild elder abuse. As examples of extreme abuse, most participants mentioned neglect and physical aggression."

Finally (for now) this search of shows some articles about torture and extreme abuse. I can't get to the articles because I'm not academic, so I'm not sure whether they are related to the main CZ article about the extreme abuse survey. Gene Shackman 03:59, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

There is no question that children, elders, and other vulnerable individuals are abused. In the discussion of most pathology, however, there are specific criteria of severity. For example, heart failure is customarily graded from Class I to Class IV in severity, based on specific criteria of functional impairment (e.g., a person in Class IV is bedridden). There are many scales for severity of disorder, from the Glasgow Coma Scale to the various TNR staging schemes for cancer progression.
The severity of causative factors, however, is much more difficult to establish. In (physical) trauma medicine, there is considerable difficulty in triage that is not based on observed status, but on the term of art "mechanism of injury". Recent guidelines in field medicine have been updated, reflecting, for example, that automobile accident speed is a factor in the need for thorough evaluation, but vehicle rollover does not correlate, as once had been thought, with severity of injury. These guidelines are literally life-critical, both in terms of getting necessary treatment, but also avoiding the riskier approaches to extrication and evacuation. There's a current hearing before the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the risk-benefit of helicopter evacuation, which has an accident rate several times higher than any other form of helicopter operations.
Human beings vary immensely in their resilience to trauma. I do question the established value of quantifying severity of causative and contributory factors. Further, the authors of this study both assume a qualitatively different extreme abuse syndrome. Their description is entwined with a belief in widespread ritual child abuse; it's hard to isolate the hypothesis being tested, or, if it is purely an observational study, any criteria for inclusion beyond self-selection. Do note that two of your articles are about elder abuse, and the third, which does involve children, appears to address individual events in a vulnerable population, rather than the systematic abuse emphasized by the authors, especially Rutz.
Torture unquestionably exists; I've written in some detail. The literature of torture, however, including specific torture victim evaluation criteria, does not, as far as I have seen, recognize an "extreme abuse". It can only address the physical and psychological trauma in individuals. People vary immensely in their ability to resist torture, or even what constitutes torture — perhaps the most dramatic example is sensory deprivation. Some people find that restful, where others will be gibbering in minutes of sensory isolation.
If this survey had dealt with metrics of the results of abuse, I'd be far more comfortable with its methodology. Unfortunately, it seems to take a reverse approach than most studies of trauma. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:09, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Deletions and additions

I was asked why I had deleted a Google Books reference; I had not deliberately done so.

I have inserted text that clarifies the survey team have used terminology, such as mind control, in a form disparaged by other researchers (e.g., see thought reform). Further, I believe that it should be made clear that Rutz's self-identification and urging to validate experience is at least suggestive of a desired answer. The questions may well be of the directed question type considered non-neutral in survey research.

Directed questions, I grant, have diagnostic uses in obtaining difficult-to-elicit information, such as screening for alcoholism. The brief CAGE screening instrument, for example, certainly uses leading questions, but, as in this [10] brief note, cannot diagnose.

This article has to walk a very fine line to be neutral. In my opinion, the researchers are convinced widespread ritual abuse and mind control exist, and are seeking data to confirm their assumption. This has been a constant criticism of "recovered memory" techniques, and, indeed, the main reason most courts refuse to accept recovered memories. It is fair to describe what the researchers did, in their own words, but it also needs to be clear that what they are doing would be questionable work in many fields. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:57, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Howard, I realized you moved the url after I made the comment on your talk page, so I deleted the comment with an explanation.
Though I respect your opinion, I believe that the data stands on its own. I do not believe that their work is questionable, they are simply reporting the results of a survey. I have seen no extrapolation of the data given.
I would disagree with your statement that most courts refuse to accept recovered memories.
43 Cases from Legal Proceedings - All of the cases in this file involve claims in legal proceedings. Some cases are criminal, some are civil, and a few are administrative or involve an estate. The criminal cases all resulted in either a guilty verdict or a guilty plea. The civil cases all resulted in either a civil judgment or a civil settlement. The cases included pre-trial discovery on the facts, and often full-blown adjudication. In short, the corroboration in these cases has been scrutinized and in many cases verified through a legal proceeding.
Bowman, C. G., & Mertz, E. (1996). A dangerous direction: Legal intervention in sexual abuse survivor therapy. Harvard Law Review, 109, 551-639.
After a review of the scientific evidence, the authors further conclude that, although some memories may be inaccurate, delayed-recall memory can also accurately reflect that past abuse occurred. Permitting third-party liability against therapists when accurate memories of abuse surface in therapy gives abusers a weapon to use against their victims. Because such suits exclude the party in privy (the client), they effectively erase the victim's voice.
Judge Edward Harrington of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts,
"After considering these factors, this Court finds that the reliability of the phenomenon of repressed memory has been established, and therefore, will permit the plaintiff to introduce evidence which relates to the plaintiff's recovered memories (p.3).
"In brief, Dr. van der Kolk testified that repressed memories is not a scientific controversy, but merely a political and forensic one (p.5).
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, 1994), which is a widely used manual by psychiatrists to define mental diagnostic categories and is published by the American Psychiatric Association, also recognizes the concept of repressed memories (p.7).
"It is important to stress that, in considering the admissibility of repressed memory evidence, it is not the role of the Court to rule on the credibility of this individual plaintiff's memories, but rather on the validity of the theory itself. For the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby denies the Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude Repressed Memory Evidence. For the law to reject a diagnostic category generally accepted by those who practice the art and science of psychiatry would be folly. Rules of law are not petrified in the past but flow with the current of expanding knowledge" (p.9).
Ground Lost: The False Memory/Recovered Memory Therapy Debate, by Alan Scheflin, Psychiatric Times 11/99, Vol. XVI Issue 11, “The appearance in the DSM-IV indicates that the concept of repressed memory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. This satisfies courts following the Frye v United States, 293 F.1013 (1923) or Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993) rules regarding the admissibility of scientific testimony into evidence in court.” And “Although the science is limited on this issue, the only three relevant studies conclude that repressed memories are no more and no less accurate than continuous memories (Dalenberg, 1996; Widom and Morris, 1997; Williams, 1995). Thus, courts and therapists should consider repressed memories no differently than they consider ordinary memories.” At : Neil Brick 00:30, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I do not propose to get into an argument, on this page, about repressed memory syndrome. Some courts have accepted it, but others have not. The National Academy of Sciences disputes it as a form of pseudoscience. Nevertheless, it is not generally accepted in the scientific and legal communities, although there are advocates for it.
It's fair to say, on the talk page, that you have seen no extrapolation, as long as the article does not suggest that. Extrapolation is not necessary to show that the study is not neutral, given Rutz's solicitation of participating as a means of validating experiences. The researchers clearly believe that these phenomena are widespread, and I believe it is fair to say you have so written in many forums. I do not dispute that there is child abuse, and indeed commercial sexual exploitation of children, but I have seen nothing that seriously convinces suggests to me that there is widespread Satanic abuse or governmental exploitation of children for intelligence purposes; there are Occam's Razor arguments against both. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:51, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
The study simply measures responses to questions. There is no evidence to show that any of the results are not authentic. And the phemomena described in the survey are widespread. But this is a separate debate.
The National Academy of Sciences cites Elizabeth Loftus and Paul McHugh to back up their points. Both are highly controversial and have been critiqued heavily and are members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, an organization that in part defends accused and convicted child abusers.
I would disagree that recovered memory is not generally accepted in the scientific community.
101 Corroborated Cases of Recovered Memory Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse Research on the Effect of Trauma on Memory
Research has shown that traumatized individuals respond by using a variety of psychological mechanisms. One of the most common means of dealing with the pain is to try and push it out of awareness. Some label the phenomenon of the process whereby the mind avoids conscious acknowledgment of traumatic experiences as dissociative amnesia . Others use terms such as repression , dissociative state , traumatic amnesia, psychogenic shock, or motivated forgetting . Semantics aside, there is near-universal scientific acceptance of the fact that the mind is capable of avoiding conscious recall of traumatic experiences.
Elizabeth Loftus herself has published studies showing evidence of recovered memory. The 4 January 1996 issue of Accuracy About Abuse notes: Elizabeth Loftus, high profile FMSF advocate, published a paper with colleagues on Remembering and Repressing in 1994. In a study of 105 women outpatients in a substance abuse clinic 54 % reported a history of childhood sexual abuse. 81% remembered all or part of the abuse. 19% reported they forgot the abuse for a period of time and later the memory returned. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives reported a clearer memory, with a more detailed picture. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives did not differ from others in terms of the violence of the abuse or whether the violence was incestuous. [Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18 (1994) 67-84.] Neil Brick 01:16, 13 March 2009 (UTC)


I' have a little difficulty with this "More than a half million pieces of data were generated from the surveys. Fourteen hundred and seventy-one participants from thirty countries answered at least one question of the EAS."

The quote about half a million pieces of data is in the book but it's a piece of hype really - it doesn't fit with the next statement, if there were 1471 participants - that's an average of more than 300 pieces of data per respondent. Well, I guess it depends on what you call data, but in an academic context as a referee I'd knock out the first sentence as meaningless hyperbole. Gareth Leng 14:03, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I was considering this too. It all comes down to what is data in the context of that sentence. In this case it is defined as an answer to a question. Given the survey has 766 questions this means that on average half the question were answered. Since I have not looked at the survey i do not know if each respondent is expected to answer all 766 question or not. It is possible that on average answering half the question would represent a completed survey. On he other hand and it could mean many started the survey but got bored and did not complete it.
I do know that when i first read the sentence I initially parsed it as meaning the number of respondents, so it is unclear. As an aside, is it normal to have such a large number of questions for a survey? Is that good practice? Chris Day 16:34, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
I just download the EAS questionaire; it has 23 questions. The data points they are referring to are actually the choices for each answer. So if question 1 has five possible answers, A-E then i assume that represents five pieces of data. 0,0,0,1,0. Or 0,0,1,0,0 depending on the answer.
Assuming the 500,000 pieces of data are from all three surveys (with 1471/451/264 participants respectively) that means nearer 200 pieces of data per person. This still means about 9 bits of data per question. I guess the other surveys could be twice as long? Maybe the results in this article should just be described in broad strokes rather than trying to quantify it. Especially given the flaws in the methodology that are discussed in the final section. Chris Day 17:35, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
I just looked at the P-EAS survey and the first question is the following one. It has 23 possible choice for experience, so I assume this one question give 23 pieces of data each time it is answered. Chris Day 17:49, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Neil, you're the one that added the following sentence:

"Protocols for the three surveys and frequencies of all responses for the 776 questions are posted on the World Wide Web[2]. "

What does this mean given the discussion above? Chris Day 17:38, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Neil, I just looked at the P-EAS survey and the first question is the following one. It has 23 possible choice for experience. Are you counting this as one question or 23 questions? Chris Day 17:49, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Chris, this is counted as one question. All three surveys have a total of 768 questions. From Karnac: EAS = 240 P-EAS = 268 C-EAS = 260 Neil Brick 00:37, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
The EAS questionaire that can be downloaded at has 23 questions in total. Given the multichoice format there are about 100 'options' at most. Where is this 240 number coming from? Also what does the 500,000 pieces of data represent? Another issue is how many of those questions are identical on each survey? When you write above "768" you seem to be imply there is no overlap? This is a strange way to present that statistic. Any question on all three surveys should equate to one question, and not be counted three times. All these numbers seem to be inflated by a considerable margin. Chris Day 02:11, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
There are certainly better statisticians than I. If there were a one-sided hypothesis being tested using conventional Bayesian models, there certainly are quantifiable relationships among the sample size and Type I/Type II error. I don't know how the equivalent validation is done for pure survey work, but the more degrees of freedom given to the respondent, the more total respondents there would need to be to suggest any statistical validity. At my initial glance at the summaries, I saw no discussion of confidence or significance.
Is this not basically nonparametric? What, then, is the methodological effect of adding levels of intensity to the response? There is a very long list of questions, which would often not seem to be statistically independent. In political opinion polling with which I've worked, the interviewers often randomized the sequence of questions, and indeed might use variant wording of the question, to avoid suggestion. Since this was a self-administered instrument with no indication that the questions were selected dynamically, is there an expert opinion on the methodology? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:12, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Explanation of revert

I have reverted a number of edits, as I believe they were argumentative, going beyond describing the survey itself.

"not the findings of the survey." had been changed to:

"based on declassified government files, news reports, and testimony from government hearings and compared these with numbers of EAS respondents who reported that they had been subjected to each of the abuses."

First, remember this is discussing a news release, not the survey. In my experience with a number of the cited government material, the material is rather selective. In other CZ articles (e.g., torture), I have written at length of, for example, some CIA experiments. For example, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb administered LSD, without consent, to Frank Olson, who committed suicide shortly afterwards. In my personal opinion, Gottlieb displayed depraved indifference to human life, and blatantly violated the Nuremberg Code and every canon of informed consent. Nevertheless, Gottlieb's experiments were directed at developing means of obtaining information from adults who knew things of intelligence interest. CIA abandoned these experiments, not for moral reasons, but because they simply did not work. Again, apply Occam's Razor. Why would the CIA try to develop techniques for extracting information from children, when children would not have information of intelligence value?

Also, "No widely accepted definitions exist in the professional literature for the terms “extreme abuse,” “ritual abuse,” or “mind control". For the surveys for self-described survivors and for professionals the researchers assumed that participants would define these terms within their own frames of references."

was changed to "The researchers found no widely accepted definitions in the professional literature for the terms “extreme abuse,” “ritual abuse,” or “mind control.” For the survey for self-described survivors and the survey for professionals they assumed that participants would define extreme abuse and ritual abuse within their own frames of references...

This, in my opinion, is non-neutral. It keeps repeating the highly controversial terms "extreme abuse, ritual abuse, and mind control", seemingly as an advertisement for the belief in them. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I have reverted the reversion above due to the extreme nature of the revert. Several edits not even discussed above were reverted, including the deletion of a book url and information on the number of questions in the study.

I changed this
In other words, a participant in the EAS project principally presented, to the media, allegations of government abuse, not the findings of the survey.
to this
In other words, a participant in the project principally presented, to the media, allegations of government abuse based on declassified government files, news reports, and testimony from government hearings and compared these with numbers of EAS respondents who reported that they had been subjected to each of the abuses.
The edit above is simply a clarification of what the participant in the project presented. This is more accurate than simply saying "not the findings of the survey."

I changed this
No widely accepted definitions exist in the professional literature for the terms “extreme abuse,” “ritual abuse,” or “mind control". For the surveys for self-described survivors and for professionals the researchers assumed that participants would define these terms within their own frames of references.
to this
The researchers found no widely accepted definitions in the professional literature for the terms “extreme abuse,” “ritual abuse,” or “mind control.” For the survey for self-described survivors and the survey for professionals they assumed that participants would define extreme abuse and ritual abuse within their own frames of references.
The only change in the edit above is attributing them to the researchers and not making them global statements. In essence, this makes the statements more neutral.
If there any issues with my edits, let's please discuss them on the talk page and not simply revert them entirely. Thanks. Neil Brick 01:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Neil, in my opinion, the text that you edited reflected some consensus. "allegations of government abuse based on declassified government files, news reports, and testimony from government hearings and compared these with numbers of EAS respondents who reported that they had been subjected to each of the abuses." puts what I have to call a pseudo-quantitative spin on anecdotal data. "Allegations" in a press kit are not part of the survey. They can be commented upon as is done in "Publicity". The comment about "compared these", however, appears to suggest the researchers used the survey results, themselves with questionable validation, to validate the highly selective materials in the press kit. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:10, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe that the researcher's words in their press release should be allowed to defend the critiques brought by Citizendium editors. This is in part the rationale for the edit. Neil Brick 02:19, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Be careful with reverts

Gentlemen, please consider making improvements to articles rather than wholesale reverts, which tend to feel something like a slap in the face. Congratulations for a lot of good work on this article today, but it gets tought to follow all the changes. Take your time and consider using the talk page before you make changes to the article. D. Matt Innis 01:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

The Constabulary has removed a conversation here that either in whole or in part did not meet Citizendium's Professionalism policy. Feel free to remove this template and take up the conversation with a fresh start.


The previous conversation was not progressing to anything productive. I'd suggest that we keep the discussion related to specific changes wanted to specific text within the article. D. Matt Innis 03:12, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

776 or 768 questions

776 or 768 questions? Both these numbers are from Neil what is the number in the primary source? And please explain why the surveys available online in the external links do not have this many questions. This is very confusing from an outsiders perspective. Chris Day 02:30, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Chris, am working on answering all of your number questions. Hope to have a reply to you in the next or two. Neil Brick 01:50, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Chris, one reason for the discrepancy is that the questions are not numbered on the survey forms and there could be different ways to count some of the sub questions. I will research this further and try to get you more answers in the next few days. Neil Brick 19:34, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
The EAS had 240 questions and 1471 respondents; the P-EAS had 268 questions and 451 respondents; the C-EAS had 260 questions and 264 respondents: Although not all of the respondents answered every question, a “no answer” response is still a response and that cell would have been needed to be counted and analyzed. This equates to 353,040 (240 X 1471) EAS cells; 120,868 (268X451) P-EAS cells; 68,640 (260 X 264) C-EAS cells for a total of 542,548 pieces of data retrieved from the webserver. Hope this answers your question on part of this. I am still doing research in regard to your other queries.Neil Brick 18:16, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I know there are different ways to count the sub-questions. See what i wrote above in the Numbers section.

The EAS questionaire that can be downloaded at has 23 questions in total. Given the multichoice format there are about 100 'options' at most. Where is this 240 number coming from? Also what does the 500,000 pieces of data represent? Another issue is how many of those questions are identical on each survey? When you write above "768" you seem to be imply there is no overlap? This is a strange way to present that statistic. Any question on all three surveys should equate to one question, and not be counted three times. All these numbers seem to be inflated by a considerable margin. Chris Day 02:11, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Even with a very generous interpretation there are only 23 questions on the EAS. That is not close to the stated 240 questions. What is missing here? Chris Day 15:45, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

From a methodological standpoint, it's worth reading some of the questions. Statistical analysis can be much more difficult when different questions address the same independent variable — this can also lend validation through internal correlation, but the methodology has to be deliberate and careful.
As has been mentioned, directed questions tend to elicit a desired answer. Well-designed neutral questions try not to introduce ideas that the subject may not have considered.
There's a reasonable section, reasonably introduced, about medical/emotional history that might be the result of abuse.
Another section — directed at childhood memories — include things that a child indeed might remember: Physical abuse, straitjacketing, blinding lights, and "Being threatened with death if I ever talked about the abuse". child concepts. Would a child typically have thought of experiences such as:
  • "Aversive hypnosis"
  • "Brain implants" as distinct from other questions on, "Brain stimulation", "Electronic harassment," "Eugenics experiments"
  • "Radiation exposure" (I always carry my ionization detector Howard C. Berkowitz)
  • "Psychic driving"
  • "UFO abduction"
Here are a few directed questions from the subject, not therapist, survey. Do these go beyond simple elicitation of a plausible kind of abuse?
  • Secret government-sponsored mind control experiments were performed on me as a child.
  • My perpetrator(s) deliberately created / programmed dissociative states of mind (such as alters, personalities, ego-states) in me.
How would the child know if an experiment were government-sponsored or not? If it is secret? How would a manipulated child know the perpetrator's intent?
I suggest the study sections and purpose, with representative questions including controversial ones, be included in the article. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:27, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

what means "a term of art in survey research"?

"a term of art in survey research" doesn't sound like correct English to me. "A term used in survey research" maybe? And if I don't understand it, I feel pretty sure that many others won't either. Hayford Peirce 17:16, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps term of art deserves an now-written article, but it is quite useful. It probably first derives from law [11], but has spread to many fields. As opposed to jargon, where a specialized term has meaning only to people in the field, terms of art are apparently common terms that have very specialized meaning dependent on context.
Some can be a bit silly, such as "whoopsie" being the U.S. Department of State internal term of art for "that which will lead to a major diplomatic incident", or the security-speak "we have a situation". Nevertheless, I believe it to be a useful descriptor. "Directed question" has a specific usage in survey research. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:27, 14 March 2009 (UTC)


Remember that this is an English-language encyclopedia. Whenever possible, it is preferred that supplementary material be available online, for convenience of Citizens; this is not always possible.

Given the article is about a survey, I would also suggest the bibliography focus more on survey methodology, as well as other research in characterizing the phenomena studied, rather than on treatment. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


I want to ask that this article be moved from its present title. "Extreme Abuse Survey" (capitalized) would be an improvement, because the topic is a particular survey project. If "Extreme Abuse Survey" is not the name of the project, we should use its proper name. If it has no set name, we should use the name of the website. I'm also inclined to add in parentheses "online project", because the nature of the project as a Web-based project--with everything that entails--is deeply important and I think not adequately emphasized in the article itself.

As to other issues raised above, I'm not weighing in yet. --Larry Sanger 18:02, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Agree. The "(online project)" or a similar phrase is important. "Snowball survey" complements the web aspect; are both points clear enough in the lede? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:18, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

If this survey hasn't been peer reviewed, how is it maintainable?

There are literally millions of pieces of research, and who knows how many surveys, in the world. It is far from being the case that we could, or would want to, have CZ articles about all of them. For articles about research, therefore, there will sometimes be a question about whether the article is maintainable in the sense defined by CZ:Maintainability. I would say that, for research, we need a test of significance or impact. How those things are to be assessed for research in general, I don't know. But I do have a vague standard we could use in this case: do psychologists respect this research, or not? Of course, for that, I understand that there are two well-established tools: peer review and "impact metrics" (I might be forgetting the correct term).

There is one particular point that bothers me about this survey in particular, and that is that this research work has been done online and, as far as I can tell from the article itself, not been published or peer reviewed in any way. Is that correct? If so, then, unless some really compelling mitigating circumstances can be urged for retaining the article, I am afraid I will have to propose that we move this article to CZ:Cold Storage. The argument for this course is very compelling: our including a report about this research constitutes CZ's approval of it. But CZ is not in a position to review original research. Therefore, the article is not maintainable. I am not saying that extreme abuse survey, the article, constitutes original research, but it is a report about what appears to me to be original, unreviewed research. As such it certainly does not seem to be maintainable.

I want to make a point rather gently about the discussion above. It seems to me that the debaters are actually attempting to do a peer review of the research. This is not a good use of our time here on CZ. We are not experts on this topic (although perhaps Neil Brick is, to some extent). Therefore, we could not credibly determine whether there is something important to be gleaned from the page. If a group of Citizens, say a biologist, physiologist, and computer scientist, were to state, "We've thoroughly checked this survey out and it looks credible," I would reply, "With all due respect for your expertise in your own fields, who cares about your opinion on this topic? Journals leave such matters up to professional psychologists and psychiatrists (I gather). Unless you are trained in that field, or some other relevant field, you're not in a position to make positive judgments about the credibility of the research itself. (You might find gaping holes that any educated person could find, however.)"

And if we can't make credible positive judgments of the research, why are we discussing the merits of the research at all? We leave that to the relevant professionals.

Here's a nod to Gene Shackman for noticing that the research does not seem to have been reviewed. --Larry Sanger 18:44, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Not lost, it was on the old talk page. See below. Chris Day 19:01, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
And as to it not being reviewed, this point is lost on no one contributing to this page. Chris Day 19:03, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Then why, pray tell, are we still debating about the article? Do the scientists here really believe there is anything left to talk about, after it has been observed that the survey hasn't been peer reviewed? Isn't the argument after that pretty simple? I mean no disrespect, I'm just confused. Surely we haven't suffering from a surfeit of politeness? --Larry Sanger 19:07, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
No there is nothing else to talk about. The point of the discussion above is to persuade Neil it is a lost cause. The point of editing the article is damage control. One does not need to be an expert to see this is flawed on so many levels. Chris Day 19:10, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Chris, I regard this as a curious, puzzling failure of our system, which we must address. Unless Neil can actually plausibly argue that the survey actually has been peer reviewed, or that it doesn't matter that it hasn't been--both of which I doubt--then the fact that he continues to want to debate, or that others are game to debate with him about other points, shouldn't really matter. The article should have been moved, or someone should have pointed it out to me so that I could do the deed (again, after Neil is given a chance to reply). --Larry Sanger 19:17, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
[edit conflict] Larry, I believe that several people tried, diplomatically, to point this out. There was no Editor involved at first, nor even clarity about the right workgroup. Please correct me if I misconstrued, but I believe that Matt and Hayford indicated that the objections were content-related, and, until an Editor were involved, the article had the right to stay under the principles of inclusion and neutrality. Alas, there may have been a surfeit of politeness, normally the best of things, but in the worst of times.Howard C. Berkowitz 19:28, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


Aaagh! My three-paragraph-long comment was lost in the move! Well, I will quickly reconstruct it.

As far as I can gather (and a nod to Gene Shackman for noticing this), this survey has not been peer reviewed. If not, I am not sure how it can be considered maintainable in the sense of CZ:Maintainability. Literally millions of research studies have been published, and we cannot hope to have articles about them; this is an excellent example of how our maintainability policy can be applied. When it comes to research studies generally, we surely need a positive reason to include them. A study should have some significance or impact beyond the run of the mill. Now, it seems to me that two minimum measures of research significance are (1) peer review and (2) research impact. I don't know, but from what I gather, the present article lacks both. As far as I can tell, some researchers have merely conducted a survey online and posted the results online. Is that correct, Neil?

A supporter of the study might want to argue that there isn't much survey research, of this sort, done in this field. (I don't know if this is true, I'm just imagining for the sake of argument.) For that reason, it is significant. But the fact that someone with some scientific training posts a survey hardly means that the survey should be considered significant, regardless of the need of research in the field. For that, we need peer review.

Again, you might say that CZ has many experts on board and can do its own peer review; indeed, some of the discussion above looks suspiciously like an attempt to review the research itself. But are there any experts, other than Neil Brick who may have some expertise in the area, who are participating on this page? No. And even if there were, and they endorsed this research, I would not be impressed, because I don't want to set a precedent for CZ: in order to be credible qua academic publisher, CZ would need many things in place that we don't have in place. We are credible as an encyclopedia project, but that does not make us qualified or credible as an academic publisher, or peer review service, as well. It's conceivable that in the distant future that might change, but we certainly lack that ability now.

The point, then, is that, if this article is not peer reviewed, that is prima facie and strong reason to believe it is not maintainable, and hence to move it to CZ:Cold Storage. But I want to give Neil Brick a chance to respond before we do this. --Larry Sanger 19:00, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Aaaagh! again. It wasn't lost! I made a second version for nothing! --Larry Sanger 19:03, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

:( Chris Day 19:10, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Larry, the fact of its not being peer reviewed was mentioned, in talk page comments, almost as soon as it was posted. When I questioned this, the response was "it's just talking about what the researchers wrote."
There's an interesting policy question here. If, as I agree, an article that states it is research oriented but has not been peer-reviewed is not maintainable, I question if it should be here at all. If, however, other articles, describing nonfiction books, with controversial premises, which have no independent review besides involved journalists (e.g., Hell Minus One), where is the line? I don't have a good answer.
When Ann Coulter or Noam Chomsky write on politics, whether one agrees with either, neither, or both (I'd like to meet the person who can agree with both), those authors are notable commentators in the field. One can make, I think, a reasonable arguments for reference books in a professional field, if the publishing process does include a formal review by recognized experts. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:14, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe you, but I can't find the exchange, and I'm curious not in order to assign blame but in order to understand what happened, for my own theoretical/scheming purposes. Where did this initial exchange take place? Can you link to it, please? --Larry Sanger 19:17, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Very first section at the top mentions that none of the references are peer reviewed. Further sections note that none of the terminology is found in academic journals. The survey itself is flawed from an academic perspective meaning all interpretations from the data are pretty much useless and finally the primary source used and and the surveys own online resources are in conflict.
The problem is that on this article we are only authors. What authority do we have to axe it? Chris Day 19:26, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

[Edit conflict] Under the first heading of this page, "Looking further at the references, I see they are all books, not peer-reviewed publications. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:04, 20 January 2009 (UTC)" This was the first mention, although it wasn't put in so many words this isn't peer-reviewed so it's not maintainable.
I mentioned there that "Extreme abuse" is not in Medical Subject Headings nor does it seem to have a DSM-IV designation. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:28, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

OK, guys, first let me apologize for failing to take responsibility myself. I think a few different people alerted me to what was going on on this page, but, no doubt being pressed for time, I had difficulty quickly understanding what the problem was. If one comes as an outsider to a dispute and looks in on it at the first time, it can be hard to make sense of it without reading a lot of the discussion, and that takes a lot of time.

I also have to point out, not complainingly but just in a fact-stating way, that when people send me e-mail "alerts" about situations on the wiki, they are frequently vague. They say things like, "I think that so-and-so is pushing an agenda." Well, everybody pushes an agenda from time to time. What they really mean is that they think that in writing a certain section of an article, a person has made too many claims that were not qualified, attributed, or balanced by claims on the other side. I am much more impressed by reports of the latter sort. They save me time.

In the present case, it appears that nobody told me that the survey itself is not peer reviewed. There is, of course, a huge difference between an article citing non-peer-reviewed sources (many academic articles cite non-peer-reviewed sources, e.g., when historians cite source material, or someone writing about the Internet cites a Web page), and an article not being peer reviewed itself. If someone had merely sent me a single sentence, "'Extreme abuse survey' should be moved to Cold Storage because the survey project it concerns is not peer reviewed, and therefore, the article is not maintainable," I'm sure I would have leapt into action (after checking the facts, of course, and giving Neil a chance to reply).

My advice is that, in the future, when you're confronted with an article on which nobody is an editor, or there is serious questioning of the editor going on, be very specific in your complaints to me. Point out both the problematic text (or the aspect of the article, generally, that is problematic) and the rule that you think the text breaks. "Pushing an agenda" or "using non-peer reviewed sources" do not necessarily violate CZ rules. Neither does "using a term not in the DSM" (how do you think newly-recognized disorders get into the DSM in the first place? They are discussed in peer-reviewed literature). Even complaints about neutrality are frequently not "actionable"; frequently I find that somebody has written some biased text, and by the time I arrive, someone has changed the biased text, and the problem seems to be solved. What I can act on is a pattern of biased editing. If you really want me to take action, when I'm so frequently too busy to do the research I need to do myself (to be fair, of course!), what I need to see is a bunch of URLs (possibly some "diffs") demonstrating the problem.

I realize I am a bottleneck in cases like this. I'm trying to schedule my time better and I hope to make time to work some more on the dispute resolution system, which will include a proposal for a editorial review committee--which might have been able to look into this. But you should also know, by the way, that in cases of warning or ejecting long-standing members, I always consult others. Frequently it's the Executive Committee, sometimes it is an ad hoc group of relevant experts. --Larry Sanger 20:23, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, I need to accept my share of the responsibility as well, because Howard wanted this article gone a long time ago, but I wouldn't let him. I suppose there are others that you should look at as well, because my understanding of maintainability has been skewed, I think. D. Matt Innis 01:27, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

The article is maintainable

The CZ maintainability policy clearly states "there are certain classes of articles that will probably never be completely filled out, high-quality, and well-maintained." This survey has been examined from every aspect and in every way. It has been written and re-written several times. The CZ maintainability policy does not mention peer review as a requirement and many of the articles I have seen at CZ don't have peer reviewed articles in them.

Larry stated above "A study should have some significance or impact beyond the run of the mill. Now, it seems to me that two minimum measures of research significance are (1) peer review and (2) research impact."

This article has incredible significance. Several thousand people reported extreme abuse. It definitely has research impact, because this is a controversial topic that has been hotly debated in the field. Is the study perfect? No. But this has been clearly pointed out in the article.

The study has been written and published by respected professionals in the field with high qualifications. It was published in one book by a respectable publisher and in another by a respected editor.

To delete this article would be a mistake for several reasons.

1) The survey gives voice to several thousand people. CZ can give them a voice and in a respectful and academic manner.

2) The bar for this page and research has been raised extremely high, much higher than many. Due to the controversial nature of the topic, this topic and survey has been attacked in many more ways than most would. So all flaws have been magnified considerably.

3) What kind of CZ will exist? Will a CZ exist that deletes topics due to being too controversial that certain researchers do not want to see information on CZ about? Or will there be a CZ where a variety of well written articles can exist, even on topics where there is controversy and criticism?

I believe the article is maintainable and the topic is an important one for CZ to cover. Neil Brick 02:01, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm speaking here as a Citizen and absolutely NOT as a Constable. I have been following this article and the discussions for some time now. Neil, in the above justification for the existence of this article, you *finally* use the word "controversial" many times. You, as well as I, and everyone else, knows that many of the ideas proposed here are *extremely* controversial. And yet, out of delicacy, or etiquette, or forbearance, on the part of people who don't agree with your point of view, there has been absolutely no assertion *in a prominent place* of the article that this whole theory is CONTROVERSIAL.
What would you say about putting IN THE LEDE PARAGRAPH a very clear statement that "the ideas propounded in these surveys are very controversial; they are unanimously rejected by mainstream experts within the field; and there is no peer-reviewed evidence to back up their claims."
It seems to me that if you (or others who support your point of view) can't agree to those three declarations, that the article is clearly not maintainable. Best, Hayford Peirce 03:31, 17 March 2009 (UTC)


Response to Hayford - I wouldn't want the LEDE in the article to say something that isn't true. How about this (simplifying the English as well) "the ideas written about in these surveys are very controversial; they have been rejected by some mainstream experts within the field of psychology and many in sociology; and there is no peer-reviewed evidence at this time to back up the specific claims made in the survey."
I qualify your statement because it is extreme in the sense that not all experts have rejected them. And actually most of those that work with ritual abuse clients would disagree with it.
Brief Synopsis of the Literature on the Existence of Ritualistic Abuse”.
Publications on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control in 2008
This would be more accurate and more neutral. Neil Brick 04:08, 17 March 2009 (UTC)


BTW, I appreciate the spirit of this discourse and believe that we can work out our differences by adding an appropriate lede. Neil Brick 04:24, 17 March 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps to compare and contrast, and to support Hayford, look at homeopathy. Not in the first paragraph are the comments that the entire discipline is controversial, but, still in the introduction, is:

Although homeopathy is practiced by some medical doctors, as well as by other health professionals in virtually every country in the world, most mainstream medical doctors and scientists, particularly those in the West, do not accept the principles of homeopathy today.

Homeopathy, however, squarely confronts the controversy of, to use Hayford's words, the ideas. It doesn't try to introduce individual studies or books supportive of homeopathy and have them be free-standing articles supportive of a position. There's no survey of homeopathy article that gives "voice to several thousand people." Howard C. Berkowitz 03:47, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

The foundation of your defense against my criticism, Neil, is this claim: "This survey has been examined from every aspect and in every way." This may be true, for all I know; I doubt it, a priori (I'm sure that can't be said of much of very credible, rigorous, mainstream research), but my personal guesses are irrelevant. Your claim that it has been "examined from every aspect" do not entail that the article has been peer reviewed.

Moreover, the point is that no study becomes scientifically significant simply because it allegedly aggregates the reports of many people online. There are many surveys that do so (I know because I've created a few of them myself). They are not worthy of encyclopedia articles. It is not the role of CZ, I think, to "give people a voice." Advocacy groups do that. We are an encyclopedia project. Our purpose is to impart credible knowledge claims. As I said in my comments above, this article purports to summarize scientific research, not to report on a movement that "gives people a voice." And, qua scientific research, it is not the place of CZ to report about it if it hasn't been peer reviewed.

"The bar for this page and research has been raised extremely high, much higher than many." I absolutely deny this. How many others have put articles about specific research projects in CZ? I don't know if any others exist on CZ, actually. There is, as I said, a maintainability issue about all such projects, and surely a bare minimum is that the research was peer reviewed.

"What kind of CZ will exist? Will a CZ exist that deletes topics due to being too controversial that certain researchers do not want to see information on CZ about?" This dismisses the legitimate concerns I have raised. I don't care about whether a topic is controversial, and I don't know what "too controversial" even means. I think there should be an article about the topic of ritual abuse (at least one about the phenomenon that people are claiming that it exists). My objections are to this article and they are limited to the fact that it is not peer reviewed and hence not maintainable.

So the relevant question is very simple: has this article been peer reviewed? You do not actually address this crucial point, I notice. You neither make any direct claim that it has been peer reviewed, nor do you deny my premise that being peer reviewed ought to be a requirement for articles about scientific research projects. You say, "It was published in one book by a respectable publisher and in another by a respected editor." Having had essays printed and reprinted in books, I can tell you with some embarrassment that being published in a book edited by an expert does not mean an essay was peer-reviewed. (Indeed, just appearing in an academic journal doesn't necessarily mean that.) Are you claiming that it has been, in any sense? If so, then in what sense? --Larry Sanger 04:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think anyone disagrees that this is not peer reviewed, this is just the first time we have been presented with the consideration that being peer reviewed is criteria for maintainability. D. Matt Innis 15:27, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I don't mean to propose a hard-and-fast rule, but generally, if a scientific study isn't peer reviewed, then prima facie an article about the study itself isn't maintainable. Why? Because just in the category of peer reviewed scientific studies, there are more topics than we can possibly handle. Peer review is an imperfect standard of credibility, but it is one of the few common standards we have. There would have to be a significant reason to support the inclusion of a study that was not peer reviewed. The fact, if it is a fact, that the study is of interest to the community studied is not by itself an adequate reason, I think.
I thought Neil might try to argue that it was peer reviewed, in some sense, or that the study was respected and cited widely enough by mainstream professionals in the field that it is essentially treated as a peer reviewed piece of scientific work by people in the field. I haven't seen any evidence for such claims, but I think that's the only line of reasoning that could rescue the article. --Larry Sanger 21:15, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
A clear contrast, I think, would be with the McMartin preschool case, which is what got this entire business started. (As you may recall, after years of testimony by children about the most horrible sexual and satanic abuses, all the charges were dismissed and the case now is generally considered to be a horrible miscarriage of justice brought about by over-zealous officials.) To document that case, for instance, there are at least two books about it published by highly reputable publishers, Prometheus Books and Basic Books, as well as articles in such journals as the Institute for Psychological Therapies. Hayford Peirce 21:35, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
If I might try a refinement, I do think a higher bar applies to individual books and studies. For fiction, we have a very nice collaboration moving on Horatio Hornblower, started by George Swan, but the key aspect of the bar is that the character and books form a coherent whole, well-linked to other topics. While there is only brief mention, at present, of the Stanford Prison Experiment, that project went through human subject research preapproval according to the standards of its time, was stopped for safety reasons, early reports made in mainstream professional venues, and continues to be a center of many works, peer-reviewed and not: it is a "high impact" study.
Was the EAS, incidentally, preapproved by a human subject research board? As I understand current bioethics guidelines, even survey research that may trigger unpleasant associations do need safety approval and may need informed consent. Was it performed within any institutional oversight, or simply a collaborative of researchers? Howard C. Berkowitz 21:43, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I would respectfully disagree that an article needs to be peer reviewed to be maintainable. One "significant reason to support the inclusion of (the) study" is the amount of interest it may generate for Citizendium. The debate about the topic is vigorous, as is shown by this talk page. Another is that it is new research and Citizendium should be willing to report on new research with an appropriate critique like the article presently has. Encyclopedias do cover information on new topics. This is what makes an encyclopedia encyclopedic. The fact that several thousand people responded to the survey also makes it important.

Here are the credentials of the authors and publishers -

Two of the researchers are well published.

Becker T. & Overkamp B. (2008). Spezifische Anforderungen an die Unterstützung von Opfern organisierter und ritueller Gewalt. In: Fliß CM & Igney C: Handbuch Trauma & Dissoziation. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers. (Specific Requirements for the Support of Victims of Organized and Ritual Abuse).

Becker T. & Woywodt, U. (2007). Ritueller Mißbrauch: Auswirkungen der Arbeit auf die Beraterinnen und die Beratung. In: Wildwasser e.V.:Sexuelle Gewalt - Aktuelle Beitraege aus Theorie und Praxis. Berlin: Selbstverlag. (Ritual Abuse: Consequences of working [in this field] on cousellors and counselling)

Becker, T. (2008). “Organisierte und rituelle Gewalt” (”Organized and Ritual Violence”). In Fliß CM & Igney C: Handbuch Trauma & Dissoziation. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.

Becker T. & Woywodt, U. (2007). Ritueller Mißbrauch: Auswirkungen der Arbeit auf die Beraterinnen und die Beratung. In: Wildwasser e.V.:Sexuelle Gewalt - Aktuelle Beitraege aus Theorie und Praxis. Berlin: Selbstverlag. (Ritual Abuse: Consequences of working [in this field] on cousellors and counselling)

Becker, Thorsten (2008). Rituelle Gewalt in Deutschland. (Ritual Violence in Germany). In: Froehling Ulla: Vater unser in der Hoelle. Bergisch-Gladbach: Lübbe

Differentialdiagnostik der dissoziativen Identitätsstörung (DIS) in Deutschland – Validierung der Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS) (2005) pdf Overkamp, Bettina

Dissoziative Identitätsstörung (DIS) - eine Persönlichkeitsstörung? Bettina Overkamp; Arne Hofmann; Michaela Huber, Gerhard Dammann Trauma und Dissoziation • Ein Angebot von S.P.ORG.-Consulting e.V.

Ritual Abuse: An European Cross-Country Perspective Becker, Thorsten and Joan Coleman

In addition, Becker received the "German Child Protection Award" in 1994.

Overkamp is a specialist in diagnostic issues and a member of the Executive Board of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation.

Karriker was interviewed on Court TV as an expert on ritual abuse. Both Rutz and Karriker have published books of their own.

Karnac (publisher of the Forensic Aspects book) is well known in England as a respectable publisher.

from their website - We have created several monograph series, thanks to our close cooperation with some of the leading institutions in the areas of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

We supply both individuals and institutional libraries (universities, various associations etc.) not only with books in our field of specialisation, but with any book in print in the English language.

The extensive Karnac backlist includes classics by some of the great clinicians and psychoanalytic scholars of the 20th century, including Wilfred Bion, Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Donald Winnicott, Sándor Ferenczi, and S.H. Foulkes, and more recent books by Joseph Sandler, Masud Khan, David Rosenfeld, André Green, and Donald Meltzer, among others.

These credentials show that the researchers are experts in their field.

I am willing to have an appropriate lede added to the article if editors believe it is necessary, but I do believe the article is maintainable. Neil Brick 01:31, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

In reply to the McMartin comment above

1) The wikipedia article is horribly biased. It was hi-jacked by a couple of editors a year ago, and they deleted any commentary contrary to the miscarriage of justice opinion.

2) An incredibly biased movie was made about the case, adding to the propaganda that it was a miscarriage of justice. The creators of the movie admitted they were biased in the NY Times.

3) The McMartin Preschool trial was the longest in United States history. It lasted seven years. There were allegations of child abuse and allegations that a tunnel was found where the abuse occurred. In the first trial, the defendants were acquitted on 52 counts. The jury was deadlocked on 13 counts. In the second trial, the jury was deadlocked on all 8 counts and the judge declared a mistrial.

4) The Eberles published the most famous book about McMartin in Prometheus Books. They are well known child pornographers. In the 1970s the authors once ran an underground tabloid for pedophiles in Los Angeles, called Finger and editors of the pornographic tabloid, LA Star. Ms Magazine article

5) The Institute for Psychological Therapies was founded by the late Ralph Underwager. They have published several articles mischaracterizing the case as a "miscarriage of justice."

In an interview in Amsterdam in June 1991 by “Paidika,” Editor-in-Chief, Joseph Geraci, Underwager stated "Paedophiles spend a lot of time and energy defending their choice. I don’t think that a paedophile needs to do that. Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love."

In Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author by Anna C. Salter (a peer reviewed journal article), the article discusses Underwager's harassment of Salter as well as his mistating the research of the field.

"Both Salter and Toth came to believe that Underwager is a hired gun who makes a living by deceiving judges about the state of medical knowledge and thus assisting child molesters to evade punishment." Cf. Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, No. 89-2441 (7th Cir. Apr. 6, 1994), slip op. 8-11 & n. 1, 20 F.3d 789, 796-97.

6) The jurors believed the children were abused. "Behind the Playground Walls - Sexual Abuse in Preschools" by Jill Waterman, Robert J. Kelly, Mary Kay Oliveri and Jane McCord - The Guilford Press - New York, London 1993 “In the most well-known case, involving the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, two juries from successive trials became hopelessly deadlocked and failed to agree on a verdict after 7 years of investigation and trial. At the press conference following the trial, 9 of the 11 jurors who agreed to be interviewed indicated that they believed the children had been molested, but they felt that the evidence presented did not enable them to state beyond a reasonable doubt who had perpetrated the abuse.” (p. vii) (Source: Los Angeles Times, January 19, 1990, pp. A1 and A22) “Tapes of Children Decided the Case for Most Jurors” Tracy Wilkinson and James Rainey - Los Angeles Times p.A1 and A2 - 1/19/1990

7)Tamarkin, C. (1994a). Investigative Issues in Ritual Abuse Cases, Part I. Treating Abuse Today, 4 (4): 14-23. Tamarkin, C. (1994b). Investigative Issues in Ritual Abuse Cases, Part II. Treating Abuse Today, 4 (5): 5-9. “In August 1982, a mother claimed...A hospital exam confirmed her worst fears her son has been sodomized. Asked who was responsible, the toddler said, “Mr. Ray.” “Mr. Ray” was…a teacher at the McMartin preschool, which the boy had –been attending.

8) Archaeological Investigations of the McMartin Preschool Site, Manhattan Beach, California During the month of May 1990 an archaeological project was conducted at the McMartin Preschool site to determine, once and for all, whether or not there had ever been tunnels under the building, as described by various children. Excavation was carried out according to established scientific conventions with a careful research design defining what might prove or disprove the existence of "an underground feature that would connect to the surface of the site and extend underground for some distance. " [with] dimensions large enough to accommodate adult human movement through it”. (p. 24) The project unearthed not one but two tunnel complexes as well as previously unrecognized structural features which defied logical explanation. Both tunnel complexes conformed to locations and functional descriptions established by children’s reports. One had been described as providing undetected access to an adjacent building on the east. The other provided outside access under the west wall of the building and contained within it an enlarged, cavernous artifact corresponding to children’s descriptions of a “secret room”.

Though this case and others may have been mischaracterized, by some with apparent ulterior motives, this shows that the debate is far from over and there are definitely two sides to the debate about child abuse and ritual abuse.Neil Brick 01:31, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

May I ask that each response not be accompanied by a lengthy bibliography? Sheer volume of references is not going to change anyone's mind. No one wants to argue the McMartin case details here; Hayford used it, I believe, as an example.
Karnac's backlist says nothing about its editorial and review process. Just as a contrast, my networking engineering books published under the John Wiley & Sons Networking Council imprint were overseen by an actively involved editorial board including Vint Cerf, the "father of the Internet" if there is one single parent. One of the Council members interacted on every chapter. In addition, there was a peer technical editor. Macmillan used a different policy of not a council, but three peer reviewers interacting heavily during the writing. Both publishers then had the completed manuscript read by independent experts. Did Karnac have identified experts interacting and criticizing during the writing, and then yet another check on the manuscript? That isn't a journal review process, but it is, I believe, another kind of in-process peer review process. Yet another model is the open review process of the Internet Engineering Task Force. In none of these cases was the material published without a consensus of reviewers.
Again, please answer: was the EAS preapproved by a human subject research panel, as defined in the Declaration of Helsinki (article being updated to October 2008 version). Did the subjects give informed consent? What measures were taken to verify that study participants were of an age appropriate to give consent (e.g., the U.S. Childrens' Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)? Surely it is not inappropriate to ask if the study met ethical requirements.
The amount of argument about this makes me even more convinced it is unmaintainable. Neil, please go and read some of the talk archives for homeopathy, at least the later ones. You will see much more of a give-and-take than there is here, where professional homeopaths, and knowledgeable people that seriously question the plausibility of homeopathy, still worked together, accepting they would not agree but trying to find some wording. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:18, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Howard, I am not sure what kind of give and take you are asking Neil to do.. right now you are asking him to give it all and take nothing.. and I'm okay with Neil citing sources and bibliographies. I prefer that over personal opinion.
Back to the question at hand, though, I agree that this article (if it survives) belongs as a subpage to an article that talks neutrally about abuse and/or ritual abuse and/or conspiracy theories and the difficulty in proving any of it. We just report on the state of the art and science, which this article represents - flaws in the state of art and science. Neil, are you willing to begin to work on those articles?
D. Matt Innis 02:52, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Matt, thanks for your reply here. I cite sources to show there are two sides to the issue, hence promoting neutrality. I am willing to work on those articles, but in order to assure neutrality, we will need to have editors from different perspectives working on them. Your premise is a good one, but a better one may be that some believe the phenomenon is proven to exist, others that it may exist and others that it does not for various reasons.
A good neutral source to the issue is : Craighead, W. E.; Corsini, R.J.; Nemeroff, C. B. (2002) The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science Published by John Wiley and Sons ISBN 0471270830 - The SRA Controversy (p.1435 - 1438)

Howard, I will research your questions and try to get an answer to you in the next day or so.Neil Brick 04:00, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
What am I asking? Don't respond with three screens of citations on the talk page. If they have to be given, put them on a userpage and link. The talk page then becomes readable. Right now, especially with the lengthy indented quotes having extra whitespace between them, it's not readable.
Give and take? I'll be honest and say I don't think this article is salvageable or appropriate, certainly until I see some evidence that human subject research protocols were followed -- which do apply to survey research on sensitive subjects. If they were not, there is a massive violation of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Nevertheless, if it is being discussed, I expect focus on the wording of the article. Under CZ: Family Friendliness, I don't expect graphic descriptions of rectal damage; I was able to write accurately about torture without being graphic. No minds are going to change about the McMartin case based on argument here; it's pointless to be arguing it. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:37, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I agree there should be no graphic descriptions. And there aren't any. Do "human subject research protocols" apply to an anonymous online survey? I agree with Matt that "right now you are asking him to give it all and take nothing." You seem to have so many objections to the article and research from so many sides that any topic would look problematic under this type of strong examination. I cite sources to show there are two sides to the issue, hence promoting neutrality. They are necessary for insuring article neutrality.Neil Brick 04:00, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

For Pete's sake, Neil, I was just citing the McMartin case as an example! As something that has been amply documented and written about, whether or not you agree with all the people writing about it and/or their conclusions. Why do you want to bring in 10,000 words about a red herring? Hayford Peirce 03:51, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Excuse the indents, I keep getting into edit conflicts. The example has two sides to the argument. You presented one, and I presented the other to be fair to the topic.Neil Brick 04:00, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

By graphic, I cite: "7)Tamarkin, C. (1994a). Investigative Issues in Ritual Abuse Cases, Part I. Treating Abuse Today, 4 (4): 14-23. Tamarkin, C. (1994b). Investigative Issues in Ritual Abuse Cases, Part II. Treating Abuse Today, 4 (5): 5-9. “In August 1982, a mother claimed.... A hospital exam confirmed her worst fears her son has been sodomized. Asked who was responsible, the toddler said, “Mr. Ray.” “Mr. Ray” was…a teacher at the McMartin preschool, which the boy had –been attending.
As far as survey research related to emotional trauma, the first guidelines I found assume that a skilled therapist will explore trauma, the subject may be accompanied by support persons, and, in general, they don't really consider anonymous exploration of trauma. [12] I'm not trying to be evasive; the point is that there may not be a solid base of risk-benefit information on having a physically isolated individual go through traumatic memories. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:29, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
This was a talk page comment and direct quote only. I would never put this on a regular page.Neil Brick 04:33, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
General readers have exactly the same access to talk pages as to article pages. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:48, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Were Declaration of Helsinki requirements observed?

I believe the article should make a clear statement about whether or not some ethical principles were followed.

Yes or no: did the EAS team follow Article 14 of the Declaration of Helsinki [13]:

The design and performance of each research study involving human subjects must be clearly described in a research protocol. The protocol should contain a statement of the ethical considerations involved and should indicate how the principles in this Declaration have been addressed. The protocol should include information regarding funding, sponsors, institutional affiliations, other potential conflicts of interest, incentives for subjects and provisions for treating and/or compensating subjects who are harmed as a consequence of participation in the research study. The protocol should describe arrangements for post-study access by study subjects to interventions identified as beneficial in the study or access to other appropriate care or benefits.

Note well those last two sentences. If the issues are this traumatic, evoking them without a support system in place is something that, I believe, would seriously concern most bioethicists. Asking the questions of professionals is one thing, but, the more I think about it, the more I wonder about the wisdom of invoking traumatic imagery, regardless of validity, when the subject is alone with a web screen.

Yes or no: did the EAS follow Article 15 of the Declaration of Helsinki?

The research protocol must be submitted for consideration, comment, guidance and approval to a research ethics committee before the study begins. This committee must be independent of the researcher, the sponsor and any other undue influence. It must take into consideration the laws and regulations of the country or countries in which the research is to be performed as well as applicable international norms and standards but these must not be allowed to reduce or eliminate any of the protections for research subjects set forth in this Declaration. The committee must have the right to monitor ongoing studies. The researcher must provide monitoring information to the committee, especially information about any serious adverse events. No change to the protocol may be made without consideration and approval by the committee.

The argument "it was a voluntary survey" is not an exception. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:05, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

As I said above, I will research your questions and try to get an answer to you in the next day or so.Neil Brick 04:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Decision soon

I plan to make a decision soon. I don't think Neil has responded persuasively to my arguments, but I need to look over his remarks more carefully (and what has followed since). I plan to make a decision and then immediately ask a group of three independent people, in allied fields if not in psychology, to review the decision. --Larry Sanger 04:22, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

With all due respect, I am hoping that a decision can be made on a consensus basis by all parties involved. A fair amount of work has gone into this article with several editors involved. I am also hoping that a full discussion of this can be made, without any sort of rushed decision.Neil Brick 04:33, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what this means. I am opposed to keeping the article (as I will explain below). My view appears to be shared by most others commenting on the article here. You favor keeping the article. Since the issue is an either-or one, there is obviously no way a complete consensus can be reached. In any case, this decision has obviously not been reached in a vaccuum. Not only did I invite a reply from you, I have reviewed what others have written above, and my decision very much reflects the sentiment I see expressed here: I think there is a strong (and on my view justified) opinion against having the article at all. --Larry Sanger 03:23, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
I mean that is there a way we can all work together in a collaborative manner to keep the article or find a solution to make it a subpage of another article, keeping it for now. I think that several editors are open to keeping the article in main space, provided that it has an appropriate lede. I am confused as to why the article needs to come off of main space so quickly until this is fully resolved. It is well written and the survey is well critiqued. Perhaps the "small group of uninvolved scholars" can join the talk page discussion and then after all of their queries are answered, they can make a decision on this. This would be the fairest decision to me, having someone new and totally neutral look at all of the opinions pro and con to keeping the article or removing it. Neil Brick 03:48, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Let me reply to this point. The reason it has to come off the page right now is that a lot of people who have been writing on this page have complained a great deal about the article, the endless debate over it, and they apparently agree with my conclusion. A decision has to be made, so that we do not continue to hash this out endlessly. You, obviously, will not accept anything less than that this article appears in CZ. Others evidently disagree with this view. A decision has to be made. The effect of continued discussion is to distract attention from other, more gainful things we all (who are following this debate) could be spending our precious CZ time on. The specific question of whether we will have a main namespace article about the survey will be reviewed by some experts. The other questions you raise, such as whether the article can be kept with "an appropriate lede" (though it was, obviously, not the lede I was objecting to), or make a subpage of another article, can be reviewed by them as well.
I'm afraid we Citizens do not pretend that every issue can be resolved by "consensus," because, more frequently than we might wish, people do in fact have strong disagreements. CZ is set up so that such content disagreements can be resolved definitively, by expert judgment with, of course, broad community input. This we regard as a significant advantage, because it allows us to move on past otherwise intractable disputes, so we can work on other things. --Larry Sanger 04:03, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
In your deliberation, do consider that we did invite our relevant Sociology editor User:Gene Shackman, who also specializes in research methods. He wrote the conclusion. I think the fact that we can have experts review these subjects is the quality that makes Citizendium unique and ultimately the reason that we can have articles on controversial subjects like this. D. Matt Innis 11:44, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree, Matt, and that's why I will be asking a small group of uninvolved scholars either in psychology or in allied fields to review this decision. I don't know how long it will take them. So, in the meantime, however, in the interests of bringing this at least to a temporary close, I'm going to move the article off of the main namespace. --Larry Sanger 03:23, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

A first attempt at contextualizing issues

I created a preliminary article, medicalizing sexual offenses. In no way am I committed to that specific title, although the subject is important. It needs a parent topic of sexual offenses, as well as on sexual offenses against children, child abuse (which isn't always sexual), and criminalizing consensual sexual activities. I offer it in the goal of establishing context for a number of difficult articles.

The issues raised are relevant here, and in recovered memory, since the topics are at the intersection of law, health sciences, ethics and social sciences.

If some of these redlinks can be filled in, remembering family friendliness, and the articles (or Related Pages) be well-linked, it would be a start on taking individual studies and books and putting them into broader and — dare I say more encyclopedic' — contexts. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


I am going to move this article to CZ:Cold Storage, and the following explains why.

I think I (borrowing in part from what others have said) have mounted a rather strong case against keeping this article. My case does not depend on any particular expertise, but on the general observation that the study the article reports about is not peer reviewed. I gave some (I think) fairly compelling reasons to think that peer review is a minimum prima facie criterion of maintainability for articles about scientific studies. I further went to grant that this criterion could be set aside, but only by other evidence that "the study was respected and cited widely enough by mainstream professionals in the field that it is essentially treated as a peer reviewed piece of scientific work by people in the field."

Neil replied as follows to the latter points:

"I would respectfully disagree that an article needs to be peer reviewed to be maintainable. One 'significant reason to support the inclusion of (the) study' is the amount of interest it may generate for Citizendium. The debate about the topic is vigorous, as is shown by this talk page. Another is that it is new research and Citizendium should be willing to report on new research with an appropriate critique like the article presently has. Encyclopedias do cover information on new topics. This is what makes an encyclopedia encyclopedic. The fact that several thousand people responded to the survey also makes it important."

Let me take these points up serially. First, it is not evidence of scientific respectability that an article may generate interest for CZ. Indeed, it is easy to imagine articles that could "generate interest" for CZ in the form of outrage and offense, precisely because the articles lack scientific credibility. That is not interest that we want. Second, the reason that the debate on this talk page is vigorous is precisely that there is skepticism about the scientific credibility of the study. The "debate" here is not about the content of the study but about whether its methodology is minimally sound--and about whether a CZ article about the study should exist. The existence of our debate is not evidence that there is a scientific debate that is of interest to experts in the field. Third, I completely reject Neil's claim that CZ "should be willing to report on new research with an appropriate critique." I specifically discussed this above: we are not set up to be a peer review service, and an article that critically reports on new research essentially sets itself up to be a peer review service. Fourth, the point that encyclopedias cover new topics is an obvious non sequitur. Fifth and finally, the fact that thousands of people respond to a survey might--but also might not--indicate that the survey is important as a sort of sociological record, i.e., as a source of information about an online self-defining movement. But the movement is not what this article is about; this article is about the findings and scientific merits of a study. The fact that thousands of people respond to a survey certainly does not give the survey scientific merit, or every Internet poll with thousands of respondants instantly becomes a scientific finding.

There was one other point of Neil's that I wanted to respond to. He cited the credentials of the survey's authors above. This illustrates why the study needs to be peer reviewed, and why I (and others here) cannot review the study: we are not in a position to determine whether these lists of publications are adequate evidence of expertise. For all I know, anyway, they may be hack work in fringe publications and unscientific presses. If the study had gone through peer review, and it had been cited in other peer-reviewed publications, then I would not have to guess about its minimal scientific respectability. Needless to say, it is entirely possible for even well-published scholars to do poor work or hack work that would not pass a proper review.

I've gone into some detail and taken considerable time here because I wanted to bend over backward to be fair in coming to my own conclusion. Having done so, I will be moving the pages to CZ:Cold Storage, pending a review of my own decision by persons who have some expertise in this field. Conceivably, they could overrule me. I would be fine with that, but I'd like to get a working decision in place so we can all move on to other things. Until they give their feedback, consider this a provisional decision. --Larry Sanger 03:50, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

This article can now be found in CZ:Cold Storage/Exterme Abuse Survey. D. Matt Innis 21:45, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi all. I think I'm a fairly neutral observer, well, in that I don't have any opinion about whether the article should stay. It would help if Neil or anyone could find something about the survey in a peer reviewed journal. I did a search for the authors names (Becker,Karriker, Overkamp and Rutz) on and couldn't find anything, which doesn't necessarily mean nothing exists, just that google doesn't have it.
I also don't know anything about the content of the survey, but was Neil okay with the conclusions about the survey, that it cannot really be used to say anything about the population of people who suffered "extreme abuse" (only about the people who responded) and that it is not clear what it is the survey measures, as it wasn't tested for construct or concurrent validity? And, in addition, was there any information about the reliability of the survey? Gene Shackman 05:27, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Twenty-First
  2. A Series of Online Surveys