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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 20

Re: Jerry Black To Polygraph Bruce Maccabee -

From: Brenda Denzler <denzlerb.nul>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 20:09:49 -0500
Fwd Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2004 08:59:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Jerry Black To Polygraph Bruce Maccabee -

>From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 10:57:42 -0500
>Subject: Re: Jerry Black To Polygraph Bruce Maccabee

>>From: Kenny Young <ufo.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 02:39:58 -0500
>>Subject: Jerry Black To Polygraph Bruce Maccabee

>>Jerry Black called earlier yesterday to inform me of his
>>appreciation of Bruce Maccabee for accepting his invitation to
>>take a lie detector test and that his search is now underway for
>>a polygraph examiner local to the Baltimore area. He said that
>>he will be responding to other UFO UpDates List comments, on his
>>own, in separate messages.

>>The acceptance of Black's invitation is a positive gesture by
>>Bruce Maccabee to answer one of his critics. Will be looking
>>forward to watching things happen.

>I gather, from the generally unenthusiastic response on this
>List, that few people will be sitting on the edge of their seats
>waiting for the results.

Try this instead of a polygraph?

Brenda Denzler


Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Monday, March 1, 2004

'Brain Fingerprinting' Touted As Truth Meter

Scientist says guilt or innocence can be assessed by testing
electrical brain waves

By Tom Paulson
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter

"Brain fingerprinting" sounds like science fiction, but for one
man it could be a matter of life and death.

Larry Farwell, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who works out of
a small office in the Washington Technology Center on the
University of Washington campus, hopes to use the case of
Oklahoma death-row inmate Jimmy Ray Slaughter to convince law
enforcement officials and the courts that the technique is
scientifically sound and accurate.

Farwell, whose father was a UW physicist who worked on the
Manhattan Project, believes that Slaughter's case could be a key
test of legal acceptance of the technique.

An appeal of Slaughter's case is expected to be decided by the
U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps as early as this week, said Robert
Jackson, an Oklahoma defense lawyer representing Slaughter.

Slaughter, who was convicted in the 1994 brutal murders of his
11-month-old daughter and her mother, is unlikely to prevail

in his case before the nation's highest court, Jackson said.

But he hopes that new evidence, including the results from
Farwell's innovative and controversial new forensic technology,
will at least open the door to a new argument before the state
Court of Appeals.

"The technique was ruled admissible by an Iowa court," Jackson
said. "We're running out of options and time. We're hoping the
brain fingerprinting will at least get the appeals court to stay
the execution."

Farwell said his brain-testing technique, done on Slaughter last
month, indicates that the man is almost certainly innocent of
both murders.

"It's very clear that he does not know some of the most salient
features of the crime," Farwell said. "We have 99 percent
statistical confidence in our results, and Mr. Slaughter just
did not know some of the things that the perpetrator of this
crime would have known."

Because Slaughter's "brain fingerprint" constitutes new evidence
not being considered in the Supreme Court appeal, Farwell said,
there's a chance that the appellate court will order a new

That is what happened in Iowa last year for convicted murder
Terry Harrington, who was freed after spending 25 years of a
life sentence for a 1978 murder when the court admitted
Farwell's test as evidence of Harrington's innocence.

It didn't happen for J.B. Grinder, an accused murderer in Macon
County, Mo. The brain-fingerprint test -- requested by the
county sheriff -- showed that Grinder did have "special"
knowledge of the murder. He confessed and was sentenced to life
in prison.

"It works both ways," said Drew Richardson, a former FBI
scientist who left the federal agency to become Farwell's vice
president for forensics.

"You're asking a suspect about information that would only be
known to the guilty person," Richardson said.

You can do that with a regular lie detector, he said, but people
can easily learn how to beat the standard polygraph's measure of
stress. Brain fingerprinting, Richardson said, involves
measuring an involuntary and non-controllable mental response to
the information.

Farwell's technique is based on an electrical signal in the
brain known as a p300 wave. Named because it is an involuntary
response to a recognized object or word that usually happens
within 300 milliseconds, the phenomenon is widely accepted and
not controversial within the neuroscience community.

What's controversial is Farwell's claim that he has figured out
a foolproof way to use the p300 and a secondary, related
electrical brain response -- which he has dubbed a MERMER, for
"memory and encoding related multifaceted
electroencephalographic response" -- to replace the much-
maligned (and legally inadmissible) polygraph test.

"More research does need to be done on the brain wave
techniques, but it's already far better than the polygraph,"
said David Lykken, a retired professor of psychology at the
University of Minnesota and a leading critic of the forensic use
of polygraphs.

"There is no scientific validity supporting the use of the
polygraph test," Lykken said. "It's worse than Russian

The National Academy of Sciences issued a report last fall that
determined much the same, adding damningly that there is likely
no way to improve on the polygraph's accuracy because of the
"inherent ambiguity" of what's measured.

The blue-ribbon panel briefly touched on Farwell's approach as
an alternative, noting that it had promise but still needs more

Frank Horvath, a professor of criminology at Michigan State
University and a member of the American Polygraph Association,
said Farwell's brain-fingerprinting scheme remains largely

"There's a lot of value in looking at brain wave activity, but
there's also a lot of hype," said Horvath, who is also a
consultant to the Defense Department's Polygraph Institute. He
said not enough research has been done to back up Farwell's
claims of accuracy, and the approach has some critical
limitations even if it is shown to be effective.

"It can only be used when the investigator has specific
knowledge of something that only the guilty person would know,"
Horvath said. In many crimes, he said, the investigators won't
have the kind of information needed to adequately test a

Until more work can be done to establish the effectiveness of
Farwell's technique, Horvath said, it is best to stick with the
proven track record of the polygraph.

Farwell, who has patented his technique and conducted published
research, agrees that more studies will be needed to objectively
assess the effectiveness of brain fingerprinting. But he doesn't
think this means it shouldn't also be put to use now.

"We have a backlog of some 400 cases from people who say they've
been falsely accused," he said. "Should we have told Jimmy Ray
Slaughter, with maybe 90 days to live, that we can't apply this
technology until everyone is convinced of the science?"

Farwell said he formed a private company, Brainwave Science,
because he wanted to contribute to the betterment of people's

"I would have been happy continuing to do research, but I
realized I could make a difference," he said.

Farwell said he patented his technique almost 10 years ago but
only recently decided, after initially collaborating with
researchers at the FBI and CIA, to try to launch his innovation
through the world of business and commerce.

He is looking for "angel investors," people with large chunks of
cash willing to invest in something on the cutting edge.

The pioneer of brain fingerprinting has a pedigree that, at the
very least, should make people consider that he may be on to
something. His physicist father, the late George Farwell, was on
the team of scientists assembled by famed physicist Enrico Fermi
for the development of the atomic bomb.

"My father's dissertation, on the discovery of plutonium-240,
wasn't declassified until the 1960s," Farwell noted.

George Farwell, who died only last year (two days after giving a
UW physics lecture in his pajamas and an overcoat), inspired his
son to aggressively pursue scientific truth.

Farwell said he is, in turn, trying to use science to establish
the truth.

"I realize this sounds like science fiction to a lot of people,"
Farwell said. "But this is based on solid science. Once people
understand the technique, it just makes sense."

P-I reporter Tom Paulson can be reached at:


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