Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Forensic science was not developed by scientists"

I read a recent article from Popular Mechanics entitled, "CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics" that is finally up on line (found through Instapundit):

Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. PM takes an in-depth look at the shaky science that has put innocent people behind bars.


Glenn and I interviewed Bill Bass a while back, who is the author of many books, including the popular Death's Acre. He spoke to us about the "CSI effect," which often leads juries and other people to expect cases to be solved immediately using the latest forensic science but the truth is, as Popular Mechanics points out, this science can be shaky. TV shows that make solving crimes seem easy are often just plain wrong.

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6 Comments:

Blogger MikeT said...

If the public had any conception of how many prosecutors are cut from the same cloth as Mike Nifong, it would shatter the public's faith in the system overnight.

8:38 AM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger Wayne said...

On top of some of the "science" being on shaky grounds, lots of the forensic examiners are not going to be up to the presumed standards of the people in such shows, and many of the tests they routinely perform are not going to be done, simply because most of the time, there is not enough evidence to justify the expense.

1:39 PM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

"good policework" is usually just waiting at the station for someone to call and tell you who did it.

2:51 PM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I subscribe t Popular Mechanics and read the article a couple of weeks ago. Disconcerting to say the least. The real world is quite different from the CSI shows.

3:02 PM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Here's an article from Reason Magazine on a Supreme Court decision associated with this:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/135325.html

4:52 PM, August 11, 2009  
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2:41 AM, August 12, 2009  

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