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? 

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

 
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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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