Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Flawed Forensics: 'Discover' Magazine' Science Writer Connor Lynch does a neat job in 'Discover' Magazine, of exploring the line between junk science and credible techniques, and concludes, "its "finer than you think," - even though, "Poorly-established forensic science methods have sent the innocent to prison or even their deaths, and let the guilty walk free."..."Forensics has more than its fair share of "junk science," which refers to faulty scientific information or research. Historically, the actual scientific basis for investigative techniques comes long after they’ve started to be used, if it comes at all. And while there are some techniques, such as bite-mark analysis, that have never been scientifically validated, all forensic science has the potential to end up in the junk bin: Even when a method is sound in principle, it can be made unreliable by low-quality evidence, contamination or bias. And while junk science in other fields can undoubtedly have unfortunate and even deadly consequences — such as the now-retracted Lancet article that helped kickstart the anti-vaccination movement — forensic sciences have a unique sort of reach. Criminal justice proceedings are some of the most consequential actions that states can take against individuals, and forensic science can make or break cases. Bad science can send innocent people to jail for life, or even to their death, while letting dangerous offenders walk free, every single day.

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: " DNA has come to serve the same role fingerprints once did: as a silver bullet, tying a particular person to a par...