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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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
 

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