Scientific Inference in the Laboratory and the Law

American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S121-S128, 2005

The Coronado Conference: Scientific Evidence and Public Policy Paper

8 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2005

See all articles by Carl Cranor

Carl Cranor

University of California, Riverside

Abstract

Following the Supreme Court's Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, Inc. decision, courts have struggled in reviewing scientific evidence and appear to have appreciated insufficiently the nature of scientific reasoning. To assist their evidentiary reviews, courts need to appreciate both scientific complexity and ignorance about human toxicity caused by the universe of chemical substances. Conscientious, well-motivated, respectable experts can come to different conclusions about scientific evidence without making obvious mistakes and without being charlatans. So that justice is done between parties, courts need to allow for reasonable scientific disagreement to avoid excluding from trials respectable experts and all relevant scientific evidence. The public health community can assist courts to understand ranges of scientific evidence and to recognize the reasonableness of scientific disagreements.

Keywords: Scientific evidence, Expert testimony, Daubert

JEL Classification: K13, K23, K32

Suggested Citation

Cranor, Carl, Scientific Inference in the Laboratory and the Law. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S121-S128, 2005; The Coronado Conference: Scientific Evidence and Public Policy Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=849570

Carl Cranor (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside ( email )

900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

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