The Bite Mark Dentists and the Counterattack on Forensic Science Reform

Albany Law Review 83(3), 749-829

81 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020 Last revised: 17 Oct 2020

See all articles by Marvin Zalman

Marvin Zalman

Wayne State University

James Windell

Criminal Justice Department

Date Written: May 4, 2020

Abstract

An editorial defending bite mark analysis by eleven forensic odontologists violates canons of logic and fails to refute scientific criticism of bite mark analysis. The logical and scientific failings of Epidermis and Enamel are explained as a defensive reaction to criticism grounded in the cognitive biases, organizational deviance, and cognitive dissonance of the odontologist- authors. Mercier and Sperber’s evolutionary interactionist theory of reasoning is posited as a basis for understanding the editorial’s irrational resistance to scientific criticism. Similar defensive, erroneous and irrational resistance to scientific critiques of problematic forensic science methodologies is observed elsewhere, and has been supported by some forensic analysts and prosecutors. Courts, when assessing whether flawed forensics techniques should continue to be admissible evidence, should consider the kind of flawed reasoning used by defenders of such methods.

Keywords: forensic science, bite mark analysis, wrongful convictions, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance

Suggested Citation

Zalman, Marvin and Windell, James, The Bite Mark Dentists and the Counterattack on Forensic Science Reform (May 4, 2020). Albany Law Review 83(3), 749-829, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585255 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3585255

Marvin Zalman (Contact Author)

Wayne State University ( email )

Department of Physiology, Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

James Windell

Criminal Justice Department ( email )

42 W. Warren Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
212
Abstract Views
1,074
Rank
270,767
PlumX Metrics