As a huge fan of CSI (it’s the only good thing in reruns during the dinner-to-after-dinner hours when I generally turn on the TV), I always enjoy the science of forensics. This one caught my eye–fingerprints under attack as reliable evidence. So I’m reading away, and then under the secondary heading, I find this: The guys who “read” fingerprints can be heavily influenced by external factors–according to research that duped examiners “into thinking matching prints actually came from different people.”
The study “suggests that subjective bias can creep into situations in which a match between two prints is ambiguous. So influential can this bias be that experts may contradict evidence they have previously given in court.”
Wow. Here we go again with the old quantum physics teaching–as always giving new meaning to “what you see is what you get.” It’s getting to be old hat anymore–what you see turns out to be exactly what you decide to look for…no more, no less, no different.
So this doesn’t make fingerprinting archaic; it just means another stake in the heart of the idea that there’s objective truth about “the facts.”