The Difference Between Scientific Evidence And The Scientific Method
Source Litigation and Trial
Scientists, even those in the “hard” sciences that are based primarily on empirical observations and mathematical analysis, have their own dogmas, prejudices, incentives, and conventions. That’s of course not to say that science is bad or wrong or useless — the only reason you can read this on your computers is because thousands of scientists over the years came to exactly the right conclusions about electricity, metallurgy, chemistry, mathematics, quantum theory, and information theory — but just to admit the obvious, which is that scientists are people and science happens under many of the same constraints as every other social endeavor. As much as we’d like to trust scientists as objective experts whose assertions should be accepted ipse dixit (a phrase that dates back to Pythagorus and is today routinely used by lawyers trying to discredit their opponent’s expert), the truth is that courts shouldn’t be afraid to look at scientists as people and evaluate them accordingly.