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TomLaney1 November 15th, 2017 4:46am

Here’s a semantic challenge, verbivores! Tell me thoroughly what the difference is between “innocent until proven guilty” & “innocent unless proven guilty.” Not just the difference in meaning, but also the difference in IMPLICATION and likely result.

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ParaguasPato Columbus GA
11/17/17 10:56 am

Nice grammar challenge! I hope you do more of these, this was fun. And educational 😁

I disagree with the response you encouraged for the Moore accusations, though. I agree that we should assume innocence in a legal sense, but that doesn’t mean we have to treat him like he’s innocent. In cases of alleged victimization, especially with a minor, I believe it’s most important that we support the accuser, otherwise we’re telling young women it’s not worth it to speak up if they’re attacked. We shouldn’t immediately buy everything the accusers say, of course, but we should never dismiss what they say either. Women and girls assaulted by politicians like Moore and Franken are up against a scary enemy if they speak up, I believe it’s our moral imperative to support them over the ones with power.

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DoctorWasdarb Decolonize
11/16/17 12:49 pm

Until assumes that guilt will likely be found, whereas unless assumes that any accusation has a roughly 50/50 chance of being correct, on average. Don't really know what the implications could be.

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Carcano Luke 10 19
11/15/17 11:50 pm

I disagree with your assessment Tom. Until does not always imply that something will eventually happen.

For example, you may say "I refuse to believe that claim until I see some evidence". That doesn't mean you're implying you are eventually going to see evidence. Until in this situation is simply describing the catalyst that will cause the reaction.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/16/17 10:25 am

I see your point, but I think that more often than not it presumes at least the possibility of eventual confirmation. More importantly, “unless” does not carry that presumption.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 9:44 pm

Congratulations! Nearly all of you identified the problem with the common wording: “UNTIL proven guilty” presumes that the accused will eventually be proven guilty, whereas “UNLESS proven guilty” presumes that the accused is indeed unnocent, and that the only thing that will change that status is if overwhelming evidence of his guilt is ever presented. Invthe absence of such evidence, we MUST ALL treat the accused as innocent. This is the ultimate meaning of our fundamental doctrine of “presumption of innocence.”
• Why is one word so important? “UNTIL proven guilty” presumes an eventual guilty verdict, and thus encourages the media and the public to convict the accused in the public square without a trial – it is therefore unconstitutional and unAmerican. “UNLESS proven guilty” presumes that the accused is, and will continue to be, innocent, and that he should be treated by ALL, including the press and social nedia, as an innocent man who deserves to live freely among us. (More)

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 10:09 pm

2 ... Contrast this with the way the press, social media, the public, and even our Representatives and Senators have treated the latest deluge of accused public figures, from Harvey Weinsein and Kevin Spacey in Hollywood to Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. Not one of these has been treated with anything even approaching presumption of innocence. This is most disturbing in the case of Judge Moore, who was ambushed with charges of sexual misconduct with ONE underaged girl, 38 years ago, and “supported” by lesser accusations (consensual kissing) from three other girls, NONE of whom was under Alabama’s age of consent at the time. Now each day a new unsubstantiated allegation has been leveled in the media, in a carefully orchestrated attempt to ruin the Judge’s reputation in time to cause his defeat in a December 12th special election to the US Senate. In a federal election, if nowhere else, we must adhere to the principles we’ve discovered in this poll.

⚜ ᎢᎻᎬ ᏩᎡᎪᎷᎷᎪᎡ ᏢᎾᏞᏆᏟᎬ ⚜

FLAmerican Pensacola
11/15/17 2:41 pm

Innocent until proven guilty means that you are considered innocent until insurmountable evidence is provided to determine guilt. Innocent unless proven guilty, is that you are innocent unless there is insurmountable evidence to state the contrary. In the first case we presume neutrality, or that until evidence is provided you must ve considered innocent. Whereas in the second, the assumption is not neutral but rather you are innocent and only evidence can prove otherwise.

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ParaguasPato Columbus GA
11/15/17 4:43 pm

This sounds intelligent, I’m going with this answer!

swervin Maryland
11/15/17 12:33 pm

The correct way is unless. Until means he is guilty, and it will just take to uncover enough evidence to prove it.

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MrMilkdud
11/15/17 7:24 am

“Until” implies inevitability.
“Unless” implies the outcome depends on specific factors.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 7:59 am

Now - what are the implications of this in terms of outcome?

MrMilkdud
11/15/17 8:01 am

Obviously “until” presumes guilt will be revealed with the passage of time.
“Unless” properly presumes innocence.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 9:07 pm

So “unless” is more likely to produce a fair outcome?

MrMilkdud
11/17/17 2:26 pm

Sorry, Tom- just saw this. I️ seem to only get about 3/4 of my notifications without digging.
But I️ see you covered all this up above. Good poll!

Liberty 4,032,064
11/15/17 6:30 am

The word “until” presumes that guilt will be proven at some point. Based upon that, I’d say that “unless” should be the correct terminology.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 8:01 am

Now - what are the implications of the two words in terms of outcome?

Liberty 4,032,064
11/15/17 8:06 am

“Until” assumes an outcome of guilt
“Unless” makes no such assumption.

ozzy
11/15/17 6:11 am

One is on a spectrum of possibilities, the other is either or.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 8:03 am

Now - what are the implications of the two words in terms of outcome?

jlong105 Indiana
11/15/17 3:58 am

Until gives you the feeling it will happen.

Unless gives you the feeling that it could go either way.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 8:03 am

Now - what are the implications of the two words in terms of outcome?

ScenarioNations California
11/15/17 2:01 am

Thank you for this challenge. I found the answers quite intriguing and it shows just how replacing one word could change the meaning of a phrase or its intent.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/15/17 8:04 am

Now - what are the implications of the two words in terms of outcome?

Praetorianus Fair enough.
11/14/17 10:34 pm

I see a slight temporal difference here: innocent until proven guilty means your innocence is assumed until a court of law proves you guilty while "unless" has no temporal reference.
Doesn't say anything about your actual innocence or guilt though.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 10:57 pm

Look into the assumptions of each. Then how those assumptions affect the eventual outcome...

Praetorianus Fair enough.
11/14/17 11:10 pm

Let's say I'm accused of a crime.
In that case, unless would make me feel more confident than until since until implies I'll eventually be convicted 😣

Harry3603 Tampa Bay Florida.
11/15/17 7:51 am

"Until" may act as a "self fulfilling prophecy", while "unless" allows for a determination based on future information. "Unless" is objective and does not influence the final determination of guilt or innocence.

SuperAgain They lie, Get Over It
11/14/17 10:14 pm

Semantically, both statements need to start with the word “Presumed” in order to be correct.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 10:48 pm

I know, but we’re focusing on these four-word phrases.

SuperAgain They lie, Get Over It
11/15/17 9:11 am

I think you’re reading too much into the word ‘until’ and neglecting the importance of innocence being presumptive. “The presumption of innocence was originally expressed by the French cardinal and jurist Jean Lemoine in the phrase "item quilbet presumitur innocens nisi probetur nocens (a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty)", based on the legal inference that most people are not criminals.” You’re trying to say that ‘until’ implies a presumption of guilt and that runs directly against the prima facie presumption of innocence in the full phrase.

SuperAgain They lie, Get Over It
11/15/17 9:34 am

If a person is actually guilty and if they are caught and charged with the crime, they are brought to trial and technically presumed innocent but still may be held in custody without bail and will stay that way until such time as one of the following events occurs: they agree to a plea bargain agreement, they are found guilty (a correct verdict), they are found innocent (it happens), or the charges are dropped. ‘Until’ only refers to the time period in the due process between the time of arrest and one of the aforementioned events.

lcamino Florida and Georgia
11/14/17 9:59 pm

Innocent unless proven guilty means you are considered innocent. You are innocent unless evidence becomes available that proves otherwise. At that time, you have been proven guilty.

Innocent until proven guilty means exactly the same thing. You are innocent, unless, or until, evidence proves otherwise.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 10:47 pm

What does each one ASSUME?

PaperMatic1
11/14/17 10:54 pm

Until means, you will be proven guilty. Unless means, you could be proven guilty.

lcamino Florida and Georgia
11/14/17 10:56 pm

I don’t know. Does ‘until’ assume that at some point in time you will be proven guilty?

lcamino Florida and Georgia
11/14/17 10:59 pm

Besides, I was taught that assume means to make an ass out of u and me 😉

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 11:00 pm

Very good, both of you. Keep thinking down those lines.

lcamino Florida and Georgia
11/14/17 11:25 pm

So, unless ASSUMES innocence.
And, until ASSUMES guilt.

bluerum29 optimistic idealist
11/15/17 6:30 am

Careful about assuming, might make an ass out of people

Wizzobutter
11/14/17 9:53 pm

You left out the word"considered"

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 10:45 pm

Deliberately. Concentrate on the four-word phrases.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
11/14/17 9:49 pm

This is a tough one, friends! I’ll be back Wednesday afternoon or evening to reveal the answer, unless someone beats me to it with a correct and complete answer here in Comments. Buona fortuna! 😃

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