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Finding the way forward for forensic science in the USA: commentary on the PCAST report

Byline: I.W. Evett [ianevett@btinternet.com] (*,a), C.E.H. Berger (b), J.S. Buckleton (c,d), C. Champod (e), G. Jackson (f) Keywords Forensic inference; Evidence; Comparison methods; Probability; Likelihood ratio Highlights * A response to the PCAST report on the future of forensic science. * We rej... Full description

Journal Title: Forensic science international 2017, Vol.278, p.16
Main Author: Evett, I.W
Other Authors: Berger, C.E.H , Buckleton, J.S , Champod, C , Jackson, G
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Quelle: Alma/SFX Local Collection
Publisher: Elsevier B.V
ID: ISSN: 0379-0738
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recordid: cdi_gale_infotracmisc_A522298277
title: Finding the way forward for forensic science in the USA: commentary on the PCAST report
format: Article
creator:
  • Evett, I.W
  • Berger, C.E.H
  • Buckleton, J.S
  • Champod, C
  • Jackson, G
subjects:
  • Forensic sciences
  • Reports
ispartof: Forensic science international, 2017, Vol.278, p.16
description: Byline: I.W. Evett [ianevett@btinternet.com] (*,a), C.E.H. Berger (b), J.S. Buckleton (c,d), C. Champod (e), G. Jackson (f) Keywords Forensic inference; Evidence; Comparison methods; Probability; Likelihood ratio Highlights * A response to the PCAST report on the future of forensic science. * We reject the PCAST vision of the scientist as a "black-box". * We strongly favour the notion of calibration of expert opinion. * We explain errors of reasoning and sources of confusion in the PCAST report. * Our paradigm is scientific judgement founded on logic and reliable knowledge. A recent report by the US President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), (2016) has made a number of recommendations for the future development of forensic science. Whereas we all agree that there is much need for change, we find that the PCAST report recommendations are founded on serious misunderstandings. We explain the traditional forensic paradigms of match and identification and the more recent foundation of the logical approach to evidence evaluation. This forms the groundwork for exposing many sources of confusion in the PCAST report. We explain how the notion of treating the scientist as a black box and the assignment of evidential weight through error rates is overly restrictive and misconceived. Our own view sees inferential logic, the development of calibrated knowledge and understanding of scientists as the core of the advance of the profession. Author Affiliation: (a) Principal Forensic Services Ltd., 34 Southborough Road, Bickley, Bromley, Kent, BR1 2EB, United Kingdom (b) Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, PO Box 9520, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands (c) Environmental Science & Research Ltd, Private Bag 92021, Auckland 1142, New Zealand (d) Department of Statistical Genetics, University of Washington, Box 357232 Seattle, WA 98195-7232, United States (e) Ecole des Sciences Criminelles, Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice and Public Administration, Universite de Lausanne, Batochime -- quartier Sorge, CH-1015 Lausanne-Dorigny, Switzerland (f) Abertay University, Dundee, DD1 1HG, United Kingdom * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 16 March 2017; Revised 30 April 2017; Accepted 18 June 2017
language: eng
source: Alma/SFX Local Collection
identifier: ISSN: 0379-0738
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0379-0738
  • 1872-6283
url: Link


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abstractByline: I.W. Evett [ianevett@btinternet.com] (*,a), C.E.H. Berger (b), J.S. Buckleton (c,d), C. Champod (e), G. Jackson (f) Keywords Forensic inference; Evidence; Comparison methods; Probability; Likelihood ratio Highlights * A response to the PCAST report on the future of forensic science. * We reject the PCAST vision of the scientist as a "black-box". * We strongly favour the notion of calibration of expert opinion. * We explain errors of reasoning and sources of confusion in the PCAST report. * Our paradigm is scientific judgement founded on logic and reliable knowledge. A recent report by the US President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), (2016) has made a number of recommendations for the future development of forensic science. Whereas we all agree that there is much need for change, we find that the PCAST report recommendations are founded on serious misunderstandings. We explain the traditional forensic paradigms of match and identification and the more recent foundation of the logical approach to evidence evaluation. This forms the groundwork for exposing many sources of confusion in the PCAST report. We explain how the notion of treating the scientist as a black box and the assignment of evidential weight through error rates is overly restrictive and misconceived. Our own view sees inferential logic, the development of calibrated knowledge and understanding of scientists as the core of the advance of the profession. Author Affiliation: (a) Principal Forensic Services Ltd., 34 Southborough Road, Bickley, Bromley, Kent, BR1 2EB, United Kingdom (b) Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology, Faculty of Law, Leiden University, PO Box 9520, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands (c) Environmental Science & Research Ltd, Private Bag 92021, Auckland 1142, New Zealand (d) Department of Statistical Genetics, University of Washington, Box 357232 Seattle, WA 98195-7232, United States (e) Ecole des Sciences Criminelles, Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice and Public Administration, Universite de Lausanne, Batochime -- quartier Sorge, CH-1015 Lausanne-Dorigny, Switzerland (f) Abertay University, Dundee, DD1 1HG, United Kingdom * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 16 March 2017; Revised 30 April 2017; Accepted 18 June 2017
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