Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

September 20, 2010 -

Eighty-two scholars and researchers signed their name to a brief voicing opposition to the California law at the center of Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Noting that the issue now awaiting a Supreme Court ruling is subject to strict scrutiny because it attempts to regulate the sale of games based on content, the scholars’ brief argues that California has neither provided “substantial evidence” that games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors playing them, nor does the state “demonstrate that the restriction will ‘alleviate these harms in a direct and material way.’”

Additionally:

Indeed, California does not offer any reliable evidence, let alone substantial evidence, that playing violent video games causes psychological or neurological harm to minors. California confesses it cannot prove causation, but points to studies that it says show a “correlation” between the two. But the evidence does not even do that.

Furthermore, the brief states that California and Senator Yee “ignore a weighty body of scholarship undertaken with established and reliable scientific methodologies, debunking the claim that the video games California seeks to regulate have harmful effects on minors.”

The brief then systematically dispatches research cited by California, including that of Douglas Gentile, which was billed as “rife with methodological flaws”, and Craig Anderson, whose research was labeled as “no help to California.”

Research leveraged by Senator Yee was additionally labeled as reliant on a “one-page statement of scholars,” while his mentioning of “recent research,” “new data,” and “hundreds of studies” to back his claims were deemed “broad assertions,” with citations appearing “rarely.”

Those signing on to the brief included Texas A&M International University Assistant Professor Christopher J Ferguson and Harvard Medical School’s Cheryl Olson.

View or download the full brief (PDF) here.

Comments

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

From the brief, page 17:

"Even if the Gentile survey were relevant, it simply does not say what California says it does. California states that the survey “suggest[s] a causal connection between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior.” Pet. Br. 53. It does no such thing. The survey makes absolutely no finding that exposure to violent video games leads to physical aggression. To the contrary, it explicitly cautions against making that inference: “It is important to note . . . that this study is limited by its correlational nature. Inferences about causal direction should be viewed with caution.” JA 638 (emphasis added)"
[bold emphasis added by me]

Lovely. Simply lovely.

The further question that the Gentile survey asks, as well:

"Are young adolescents more hostile and aggressive because they expose themselves to media violence, or do previously hostile adolescents prefer violent media? Due to the correlational nature of this study, we cannot answer this question directly."

Shows you how much California lawmakers read.

[edit] And hey, in the footnotes on page 18, a reference to Grand Theft Childhood. :D

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

Shows you how much California lawmakers read.

Also shows how they failed reading comprehension.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

Call me cynical if you want to, but I suspect that counsel on brief know full and well that their "studies" don't establish the required causal link but nevertheless attempt to cast them as doing just that. It's what's known in the legal profession as "bullshitting the court."

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

 Indeed. If i recall i think part of California's argument is that they admit they lack strict evidence because they can't conduct the kind of studies they would need to do that would prove a casual link. Afterall such a study would not only take multiple years but also require that maintain strict control over the subjects' media consumption and social interaction to avoid the effects of outside factors, and that is just full of serious ethical problems; especially if you need to use minors... So they are trying to use that excuse to get by without the need for absolutely strict evidence. And so they are trying to exaggerate and distort the results of their studies just in an effort to build even the most minimal link.

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

And even that argument is wrong (that they can't conduct the studies)... from page 34-35:

"At minimum, the scholarship that California and Senator Yee ignore belies the notion that the “substantial evidence of causation” standard imposes an “insurmountable hurdle” on science or legislatures. Pet. Br. 52. These studies show unequivocally that the causation research can be done, and, indeed, has been done. The problem confronting California and Senator Yee thus is not the constitutional standard; it is simply their inability to meet that standard in this case because validated scientific studies prove the opposite, leaving no empirical foundation for the assertion that playing violent video games causes harm to minors."

I really don't see how California can win.  They can't win on science, they can't win on first amendment... are they ahead on anything other that "common sense" and "think of the children"?

 

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's got a history of making more than their fair share of dead-ass wrong decisions. See, e.g., Korematsu, Plessy, Dred Scott, etc., etc.  

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

"The brief then systematically dispatches research cited by California" <--- I like that word.

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

Pah, experts? What do they know?!

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

But...  But the children!  Won't somebody please think of the children? (And quit thinking of facts, logic, reason, etc.)

Re: Scholars File Brief Opposing California Videogame Law

Forget about the children what about the rights of adults when it comes to games? Won's some body please think of us adults? 

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E. Zachary KnightGoth, they could have fooled me.03/05/2015 - 11:16pm
Goth_SkunkI don't understand. GamerGate supports an open, diverse gaming community for all as well. Google's statement is contradictory.03/05/2015 - 10:59pm
TechnogeekAnd as far as the Card thing went, I basically balanced it out personal guilt-wise by donating an amount equal to the Shadow Complex purchase price to the ACLU.03/05/2015 - 9:44pm
TechnogeekWelp, look like the Gerberghazi crowd is going to have to use Bing now. https://twitter.com/googlecloud/status/57365320825126093003/05/2015 - 9:42pm
Goth_SkunkAhh! I misinterpreted your statement about being left with almost every game in existence. I interpreted it as 'If you boycott games he's been involved with, you're boycotting almost all of them.'03/05/2015 - 9:31pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Card has been involved with only a small handful of games so if one were to boycott games for his involvement, they wouldn't be missing out on many games.03/05/2015 - 9:29pm
Goth_Skunk@Craig: Only if you're not interested in seeing it end.03/05/2015 - 9:27pm
Craig R.Instead of calling people the "anti gamergate faction", you could just call them "sane"03/05/2015 - 9:23pm
Goth_SkunkWhat do you mean 'almost every game in existence'? Card is a writer, not a game developer.03/05/2015 - 9:18pm
Andrew EisenBut I too wonder how many people who cry boycott actually follow through. I vaguely remember a few years ago a bunch of people boycotting one of the CoD games and were all found playing it on Steam.03/05/2015 - 7:53pm
Andrew EisenAn interesting quandary but not equivalent as boycotting games that Card was involved with leaves you with... well, almost every game in existence.03/05/2015 - 7:51pm
MechaTama31I agree that it's silly to avoid buying a game because one person involved with it said some things you disagree with. But I wonder how many of the people calling it silly this time have boycotted games for, say, Orson Scott Card's involvement?03/05/2015 - 7:40pm
PHX Corphttp://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/28274296/officer-injured Officer In Critical Condition Following Shooting Inside North Phila Game Stop03/05/2015 - 6:55pm
WonderkarpThe Shutup was a quick interjection saying "HEY! EVERYBODY SHUT UP AND LOOK AT THIS!" and I got the Critical Condition from a Local news site. I linked TMZ.03/05/2015 - 6:49pm
Andrew EisenThey call me The Jaws of Life.03/05/2015 - 6:48pm
Goth_SkunkThat's terrible. Now that it's been noted, can we return to Andrew's amazing steel-tearing teeth?03/05/2015 - 6:42pm
Andrew EisenWell, sucks that that happened and I'm glad he's alright (nothing in the article you linked says he's in critical condition) but there's no need for anyone to shut up.03/05/2015 - 6:41pm
WonderkarpEVERYBODY SHUT UP! Harrison Ford is in Critical Condition After A Plane Crash!! D: http://www.tmz.com/2015/03/05/harrison-ford-plane-crash-landing-golf-course-santa-monica/03/05/2015 - 6:38pm
Goth_SkunkIt ruined my joke about your billionaire lifestyle affording you state-of-the-art dentistry. I longed to see you fill your mouth with steel-tearing jaws.03/05/2015 - 6:32pm
Andrew EisenYep, typos happen. Even on the invoices I send for my freelance work. Yeah, that's always super embarrassing.03/05/2015 - 6:29pm
 

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