The Scientist I Almost Was

Forensic science fascinates me. I love watching those television shows regarding how crimes were committed and how forensic science helps to catch a killer/burglar/really bad person based upon random bite marks or the way a door was kicked in. If I could pass my intro eco bio class at college, I might have gone on to study this field in more depth! Forensic science really amazes me because people are arrested based upon evidence that isn't "real". The way that you and I compare teeth marks could be completely different, right? It's almost like two unique individuals comparing abstract completely subjective. Well, people in the scientific community appear to be catching on that this is the case!
Yesterday, The New York Times published a damning report on forensic science that I want to share here. What is so fascinating here is that finally a major (albeit totally left wing and uber left coast friendly!) newspaper has delved into this subject. The problem is that the "science" that forensics is grounded in is not peer reviewed, which is the basis for modern science!! HELLO! Does this disturb anyone? The article quotes:
It’s not that there hasn’t been any research in forensic science. But over the years much of it has been done in crime labs themselves. “It hasn’t gotten to the level where they can state findings in a rigorous scientific way,” said Constantine Gatsonis, director of the Center for Statistical Sciences at Brown University and co-chairman of the National Academy of Sciences committee. And rather than being teased out in academic papers and debated at scientific conferences, “a lot of this forensic stuff is being argued in the courtroom,” Mr. Fisher said. “That’s not the place to validate any kind of scientific information.”

This is so fascinating, especially as a future student of the LAW! Is justice here really being done if evidence is presented in a trial that has not been proven to be exact and rigorously tested? I'm not sure, to be honest, but I assume any forensic evidence presented against the defendant would ultimately cast doubt in the jury's eyes, whether they see the evidence the same way that forensic scientists do.


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