Reasoning about Doorman
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. – Sherlock Holmes (A. Conan Doyle)
Since there appears to be considerable confusion about reasoning scientifically in a case of this kind, the most valuable contribution I can make to the discussion of Doormån and Oswald concerns the pattern of reasoning that applies here. Having offered courses in logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning to college students for 35 years, I am well positioned to explain the principles that apply in cases of this kind, which are part and parcel of the application of the scientific method.
Scientific method is a process involving four steps or stages of investigation or inquiry, beginning with PUZZLEMENT, where some phenomenon or event does not fit into your background knowledge and understanding; SPECULATION, where the full range of appropriate alternative explanations are advanced; ADAPTATION, where those alternatives are tested relative to the available relevant evidence; and finally, EXPLANATION, where the alternative that is best supported is acceptable as true but in the tentative and fallible fashion of science.
The key stage is ADAPTATION, which involves the application of inference to the best explanation to the available evidence. This requires comparing the relative degrees of evidential support for alternative hypotheses by calculating the probability of the data on the assumption that the hypothesis is true. Do that for each of them and see which of them confers the highest probability on the evidence, if it were true. It sounds like a process of reasoning backwards and, in a way, it is: you are treating the evidence as the effect of a cause and comparing the probability with which various causes could have brought about an effect. If you found a tree that had been cut in half and felled, what is the probability that that had been done with a pen-knife, a Swiss Army knife or a chain saw? Consider the effects and figure out which among its possible causes is most likely.
An hypothesis with a higher likelihood is preferable to one with lower, where the one with the highest likelihood is acceptable as true when the evidence has “settled down”. It is always possible to return to make a recalculation when new evidence or new alternatives become available. Here I want to highlight a few of the key considerations that have led me to conclude that Doorman and Oswald are indeed one and the same, where, in this case, we are essentially dealing with only two alternatives, namely: that Doorman was Billy Lovelady, as the government contends, or that Doorman was Lee Oswald, as David Wrone, Ralph Cinque, Richard Hooke, Orlando Martin and I – among others – contend. Because there are only two serious candidates, evidence that favors one of them disfavors the other, and evidence that disfavors one of the favors the other. Doorman is one or the other. If Doorman was Oswald, he wasn’t Lovelady; if he was Lovelady, he wasn’t Lee.
“Out with Billy Shelley in front”
It was astonishing to me to learn – only last year, 2011 – that the Assassination Records Review Board had discovered the handwritten interrogation notes of Will Fritz, the DPD Homicide Detective who had interrogated Lee Oswald, notes that had been released way back in 2007, that said Oswald told Will Fritz that he had been “out with Bill Shelley in front” during the assassination. This discovery led me to take a second look at Altgens6 and to revist the question of whether Doorman could have been Oswald.
The Altgens6 was Altered
It would have been unbelievably remiss of Detective Fritz not to have asked Lee Oswald where he was at the time of the shooting; that is the most pertinent question Will Fritz would have needed to ask. Three questions therefore arise about what Lee told Fritz:
(1) Why would Lee have said he was “out in front” if it were not true?
(2) Why mention Shelley unless Lee believed that he would confirm it?
(3) How could he have known Shelley was there if Lee had not been?
These questions appeared to me to create a prima facie presumption that Lee was telling the truth during his interrogation. I therefore began to take a closer look at Altgent6 and was astonished to discover—and on a John McAdams site!—that Altgens6 was altered:
Notice I am NOT talking about Doorman but the figure to his left / front (our right / front viewing the images). I original inferred that the face that was obfuscated must have been that of Lee Oswald, but I now believe—based on new research by Richard Hooke-- that it was instead that of Bill Shelley. For Shelley to have been in the immediate vicinity of the enigmatic Doorman would have made Lee’s remark to Will Fritz just a bit too intriguing, which would have invited taking a closer look and risk exposing the entire charade. As we have taken a closer and closer look, it is remarkable how many of the features used to pull off this charade are present in this composite image, including not only Billy and Lee but the man in a checkered shirt, who was a Lovelady imposter, and frames from a faked film.
Taking a Closer Look
That the Altgens6 was altered at all creates the presumption that something was wrong. Surely it would only have been altered if someone had been there who should not have been there. The only candidate for that role would have been Lee Oswald. While I now believe that the face that was obfuscated was that of Bill Shelley, his importance there would only become apparent when Oswald’s remarks to Fritz would eventually become available. And, to the best of my knowledge, that did not occur until 1997. I published my first article accenting this discovery, “JFK: What we know now that we didn’t know then” (21 November 2011), mistakenly asserting that the obfuscated face was that of Lee, which led Ralph Cinque to contact me to explain why he thought that I was right about my conclusion—that Oswald HAD been in the doorway—but that I was wrong about my reasons for thinking so, where the clothing that Doorman was wearing was the key!
It did not take long for Ralph to convince me that he was right, which led to our joint article, “JFK Special: Oswald was in the doorway, after all!” (25 January 2012). The uniqueness of Oswald’s clothing had never really been addressed before. Well, perhaps it had, but not in a long time, and not with any widespread recognition. When you compare the clothing of Oswald and Doorman in detail, you realize it had to be the same clothing, which means it had to be the same man. Unless Billy was wearing Lee’s clothing, the probability that Doorman was Lovelady approaches zero and the probability Doorman was Lee approaches one. Not only is there no serious chance that Billy Lovelady just happened to dress himself exactly the same way as Lee Oswald on that particular day, but Billy himself would go to the FBI and show them the shirt he had been wearing that day —an incredibly implausible thing to do unless it was true—and it was not the same shirt!
Inference to the Best Explanation
As you will find on the pages of The Oswald Innocence Project, Ralph Cinque and Richard Hooke have done brilliant work in displaying the full range of alterations to which this photo has been subjected, where the more they have done, the stronger the case has become. Any one familiar with the principles of scientific reasoning--most importantly, of inference to the best explanation--will have no difficulty appreciating that the case for alteration has been made, again and again. The complexity of what was done is rather astonishing, but the price of failure would have been to blow apart the greatest hoax in American history, namely: that JFK had been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone, demented gunman. We know that cannot be true on multiple grounds, but this proof is as powerful as they come.
An hypothesis has been proven beyond reasonable doubt when no alternative hypothesis is reasonable. There would have been no reason to alter Altgens6 unless someone had been there who should not have been. Altgens6 was altered. Therefore, someone was there who should not have been. The only person that could have been was Lee Oswald, the designated “patsy”. Questions have long revolved over the identity of Doorman, but they have been pursued in the past in ignorance of what Lee told Fritz and that Altgens6 had been altered in at least one respect—and now turns out to have been altered in many others. We have found that the man in the checkered shirt appears to have been used as a “target of opportunity” to explain away the differences between the shirt Doorman was wearing and the shirt that Billy was not. As you will discover here, there is no reasonable alternative to the hypothesis that Lee was Doorman, which has been further confirmed in detail by more recent studies. Beyond a reasonable doubt, the charade has been exposed.