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BU ANTH 245 - The Scientific Method

Course: Anth 245-
Type: Lecture Note
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Anthro 245 1st Edition Lecture 2 Outline of Last Lecture I. Introduction to forensic science Outline of Current Lecture II. The scientific methodIII. Ethics and rules of evidenceIV. The nature of evidenceV. Crime scene investigationVI. Crime labs and servicesVII. Brief history of scientific inquiryCurrent LectureII. The Scientific Method • Make an observation • Lay out a question • Formulate a hypothesis (explanation of the observation) • Determine methods/data collection • Receive and repetition (if necessary) • Conclusion • Communicate results to others ◦ Science gets nowhere without communication III. Ethics and Rules of Evidence • Forensic scientists have important ethical obligations ◦ Unethical behavior ◦ Incompetence • Ethics - rules and ideas that govern behavior • Not all evidence may be admissible in court ◦ Daubert rules of evidence admissibility ▪ Has to have met with general agreement in the scientific community to be admissible ▪ Daubert ruling - thought it wasn't specific enough - made the judge ruler for admissibility These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.IV. The Nature of Evidence • What is evidence? - Anything at a crime scene that helps explain what happened, the events leading up to the crime and following the crime • How is it handled and documented? ◦ You package a knife differently than you would package human remains • EVERYTHING has to be documented or it doesn't matter • Establish a chain of custody • How is evidence admitted into court? V. Crime Scene Investigation • Search and recovery • Outdoor vs. indoor crime scene analysis • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) ◦ Journal of Forensic Sciences ▪ Trainee affiliate, fellow, full member, student member ▪ Have a meeting 3rd week of Feb (AAFS) ◦ Student involvement - young student forum • Disciplines in AAFS ◦ Anthropology - criminalistics - digital and multimedia sciences ◦ Engineering Sciences - general - jurisprudence - odontology ◦ Pathology/biology - psychiatry/behavioral sciences - questioned documents ◦ Toxicology (criminalistics largest % then pathology/biology) The CSI Effect • Unrealistic picture of forensic science ◦ Procedures take days, weeks, months, years ◦ Inaccurate team approach ◦ Not every crime scene yields evidence ◦ Not all evidence yields results ◦ Problem of artistic license ▪ CSI (2000) ▪ CSI Miami (2002) ▪ CSI NY (2009) ▪ NCIS (2003) ▪ Bones (2005) VI. The Crime Lab USA • FBI: Quantico, VA (1932) • Los Angeles Police, 1923 - 1st PD with crime lab in the US • New York State Police, Forensic Science Laboratory System ◦ State Police HQ Lab: Albany ◦ Regional Labs: Newburgh, Port Crane, Olean Crime Lab Organization:• Varied ◦ Federal labs; state labs; regional labs • Problems: ◦ Rapid growth (over 400 labs in the US). This lead to a lack of planning and organization, backlogs of evidence, scandals (Houston) • Resulted in: ◦ U.S. Congress asked the National Academies of Science to help them when they want to know - special committee to look into and give recommendations about labs --> National Academies of Science Report (2009) • Solutions: Scientific and technical working groups (SWG and TWG) ◦ Slightly dated - issue recommendations for best techniques ◦ Issue a list of DON’TS also SWGANTH.org Scholarship in the Forensic Sciences • Journal of forensic sciences (peer reviewed) • Forensic Science International (peer reviewed) • National Geographic (not peer reviewed) • Discover Magazine (not peer reviewed) • www.forensicpage.com • www.aafs.org Services of labs include: • Basic services • Physical Science (criminalistics) ◦ Biology ◦ Fire arms ◦ Document examination ◦ Photography • Optional services ◦ Toxicology ◦ Latent prints ◦ Polygraph ◦ Voice print analysis ◦ Crime scene technicians • Other Services (not necessarily part of a crime lab) ◦ Forensic psychiatry ◦ Forensic odontology ◦ Forensic engineering ◦ Wildlife forensics ◦ Forensic computer and digital analysis ◦ Forensic anthropology VII. The Scientific Method • What is science - very broadly, discipline(s) that enable us to learn about the natural world• The knowledge gained from the natural world is constantly growing as scientists explore new questions • This occurs through scientific inquiry - searching for info about natural world • Science informs us about the natural world • Science can not deal with supernatural things ◦ We can't test for faith or existence of supernatural beings • Science "a set of ideas that cannot...be falsified is not science" - Gould (1981:35) • Fact - world's data e.g. gravity, rotation of the earth, etc. • Hypothesis - scientific question • Theory - hypothesis that has been tested and retested; a logical, time-tested explanation for events that occur naturally. Theory is also an explanation - based on many observations during repeated experiments e.g. germ theory of disease, theory of evolution valid only: 1 If it is consistent with observations 2 Makes predictions that can be tested 3 The simplest explanation • Theories can really never be completely proven, only disproven How does scientific inquiry proceed? Aristotle (384-322 BC) • Famous Greek philosopher • Believed problems (including scientific ones) could be solved by just thinking about them • E.g. heavy objects will fall faster than lighter ones (he doesn't test that hypothesis) Galileo (1564-1652 AD) • Father of modern science • Conducted this experiment • Scientific method born How does scientific inquiry proceed? • Make an observation • Formulate a hypothesis • Determine methodology/data collection • Results and Repeat • Communicate your results with others Scientific Integrity • What does this mean? ◦ Academic honesty ◦ Not falsifying data or results ◦ Not stealing or copying someone else's results original ideas/data/results • Consequences - Guilty conscience --> life-destroying events ◦ South Korean scientist - falsified cloning data Observation and Inference • Qualitative or quantitative • Inference - interpretation of an observation• (Hypothesis) simplest explanation for observation • Law of parsimony Methodology/Data


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