Scientific Evidence and Public Policy
George Washington University Medical Center - Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy
American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S5-S7, 2005
The Coronado Conference: Scientific Evidence and Public Policy Paper
This collection of papers, published in the American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 95, p. S1-S150, 2005) is the product of a symposium on Scientific Evidence and Public Policy convened March 2003 by the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP) in Coronado, California. In June 1993, the US Supreme Court ordered federal trial judges to become gatekeepers of scientific testimony. Under Daubert and two related rulings, trial judges are now required to evaluate whether any expert testimony is both relevant and reliable. What began as a well-intentioned attempt to improve the quality of evidentiary science has had troubling consequences. The symposium provided a forum for scientists, philosophers and science studies scholars to have a dialog with legal scholars and federal judges about Daubert's philosophical underpinnings and impacts, and on the use (and misuse) of science in the legal and regulatory arenas. The Coronado Conference papers provide an important assessment of Daubert. Science is more subtle and less rigid than Daubert characterizes it. Whether applied in the courts or by regulatory bodies, Daubert's demand for scientific certainty runs counter to the workings of science, as well as to the basic principle that policy decisions should be made with the best evidence currently available.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: Scientific evidence, Regulatory policy, Public health law, Daubert
JEL Classification: D81, I18, K13, K23
Date posted: November 30, 2005
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