Scientific Evidence in Jury Trials

I have noticed that scientific evidence introduced by the prosecution, which is countered by scientific proof provided by the defense, becomes a “wash” with the jury.  If there are competing scientific witnesses, the jury typically will disregard all the scientific evidence.  At that point, it adds little value to parade in more scientific experts than your opponent.  There is already reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind, and most jurors do not have a scientific mind that will further analyze the science.

This “hung jury” on the scientific evidence can occur even when there is overwhelming DNA evidence.  If the prosecution finds DNA samples at the scene of the crime, the defense can offer an alternative theory as to why the DNA was found.  For instance, the defense may argue that the DNA of the defendant was from a consensual sexual relationship.  Or the defense may have a scientist who shows that the DNA sample was contaminated.  It is a more difficult defense arguing that the police or a third party planted the defendant’s DNA sample, but it has been employed with success as in the OJ Simpson trial.

I have seen cases that attempt to match bite marks on the deceased’s breast with the defendant’s teeth fail as soon as the defense’s scientific expert shows that the bite marks do not match.  When jurors were questioned after the trial, they indicated that the scientific testimony regarding the bite marks was completely ignored in the deliberation room.  The jury reached their verdict based on something other than the science.

I was selected to sit on a medical malpractice trial before I attended law school, and I had the opportunity to see up front how a jury operates.  And each jury is different, but this jury completely ignored all the medical evidence provided during the lengthy trial.  The jurors did not understand it, so they dismissed it.  As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant offer some medical evidence to support their side, the jury will ignore all the medical evidence.

So how did this jury reach their decision?  Well, the foreman picked up a picture of the deceased that was taken about a week before he was seen by the physician and passed it around for everybody to see.  The plaintiff’s attorney had introduced the picture to enlist the sympathy of the jurors since the man looked sick and emaciated.  However, the foreman shook his head and announced, “Can’t you see?  The man was going to die no matter what the doctor did for him.  He was going to die anyway!”  And that’s how the jury made its decision for the defendant physician.

So what’s my point?  It’s simply that science will not convince the average person to believe in dark matter or dark energy or even a Creator.  The reason why the typical individual will believe in something is based on the emotion that carries the day.  This is why crowds are fickle.  One day, they may forgive your actions, but the next day, they may string you up.

The world is becoming more polarized, reducing the size of moderate, middle-of-the-road civilizations.  Extremists are always emotional non-thinkers.  That makes them very dangerous because you cannot reason with them.  And once the majority of world citizens are polarized into two major sides, both hating each other equally, and sometimes not knowing or caring why they hate each other.  Once the fire of hate starts feeding on that emotion, all rational thoughts will go up in smoke and the only thing that will matter will be to continue feeding the fire.  At that point, the only government that can control the emotional chaos in the world will be a totalitarian government.

A thinking person might wonder if this were the plan from day one of a small group of conspirators who created the polarized planet for a totalitarian world controlled by them.  Members of this group who want to take over the world may have sat in jury rooms themselves or perhaps they just understand human nature, which is to ignore science and reason if there is any conflict and rely on emotion to make decisions.

Doubts

Whether you are a believer in a Creator or a skeptic, you should challenge your position with doubts.  It is interesting that atheists expend great energy doubting that there is a God, but spend little time doubting their arguments.  It is not logical to require more proof that there is a God than finding evidence that there is no God.

Quite frankly, it requires a leap of faith to justify either belief.  Such a leap by either side requires reasonable doubts.  Doubting is not being a traitor to your belief system.  It actually strengthens your beliefs because it forces you to think about why you believe what you believe and requires you to overcome the doubts.

Unfortunately, the world is becoming polarized by fundamental believers and radical non-believers.  The moderates are being pulled to one side or the other.  The press may indicate that religion is falling by the wayside, but it is not the new religion… it is old traditional religion that is dying out.  The neo-religion embraces groups that are radicalized.  Emotional religion is replacing moderate religion.  The fundamentalists will never doubt their beliefs.  And that is emotional garbage.

Doubting is a form of thinking.  Whenever you have a leap of faith without evidence to support your belief, you should always doubt that leap and constantly challenge it, thus reinforcing your belief.  If you go through life just accepting that belief based on emotion without any thought behind it, there may be a problem when you reach a crisis mode, whether in this world or the next.

If you end up standing before a Creator after being a suicide bomber that killed 50 innocent people, I wonder if the emotion that precipitated that act will please the Creator.  Did you have any doubts before you killed those people?  You probably did not, because your emotions drove you down this path.  Emotions mask doubt.  Emotions destroy thinking.  Emotions lead to bad choices.  Emotions also lead to consequences.  Emotions may make you a martyr who will accept those consequences… unless, of course, they are consequences provided in the afterlife.  Emotions hide those postmortem consequences.  But you killed those innocent people for God, so God should reward you.  The only problem is that God you served is the God of emotion, who some call the Devil.

I believe that the one true God does not countenance murder of innocent people for any reason.  And I want you to doubt that.  But you must also doubt that God wants you to kill for His sake.  I remember when soldiers in Vietnam said, “Kill a Gook for God.”  There may be a God who wants you to kill for Him, but, if so, I believe there is another God who does not want you to kill for Him.  There may be difficult times when I doubt the existence of a good God and think there must be only an evil God, but it is good to examine your doubts.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Thus, I believe for every evil deed attributed to an evil God, there is a good deed supported by a good God.

Will the evil God protect you?  Probably not, because He is evil.  Some argue that if there were a good God, He would make everybody safe and secure now.  However, if you believe in a Creator outside our universe, He may be testing us for entry into His universe.  If you don’t gain admission, you will remain in this universe with the Devil himself in control.  I want you to doubt that too.  However, if you are wrong, the consequences will be forever and ever.

Love and Hate

Love and hate are both four-letter words.  Sometimes they have other similarities.  Love can turn into hate and hate can return to love.  How can this be?

Well, both of them are extreme emotions that many times spring from relationships.  The most basic explanation is that love occurs when the relationship is good and hate develops when the relationship sours.  So are we talking about the same emotion, distinguished by whether things are going well or not?

It’s not quite that simple.  Some people love and hate from afar.  A stalker may be initially attracted to a beautiful lady, thinking of his feelings as love for her.  But the stalker may eventually realize that he can never have her, so his feelings turn to hate.  The poor lady may never even know anything about this guy until he appears out of the dark and kills her.

Some people hate others based on race, creed, or religion.  If you are poor, you can hate the rich without knowing them.  Thus, these forms of hate are not based on personal relationships that have gone bad.  Many times, hate is a way for the oppressed to compensate for their positions in life.  Hate also can become a super-glue for political parties, gangs, and peer groups.  What better way to cement individuals together than by hating another group?  Hitler understood this very well.

Love and hate, although very powerful initially, typically are very temporal emotions, because extreme emotions can burn out fairly quickly.  They can disappear as quickly as they appear.  But there are exceptions to this.  The hate between Arabs and Jews has been going on for hundreds of years.  This is not going away because the Bible makes the Jewish people the chosen ones and the Koran does not.  The hate leads to terrorist acts that beget more violence.  It has become a “never-ending story” of hate.

However, these problems can be resolved over time when reasonable leaders are in charge of Arab countries and Israel.  An example of this was Northern Ireland and England.  The terrorist killings had gone on for decades without any end in sight until the leadership of those countries recognized how the acts of terrorism were tearing the economy of the two countries apart.  Reasonable leaders found an economic compromise that has held the peace for many years.

Does that mean that the leadership in the Middle East is unreasonable?  Well of course it does.  But which comes first:  reasonable leadership or stopping the terrorist attacks?  The leaders say that they must respond to the terrorist attacks, and since the terrorists are not reasonable, they cannot be reasonable.

There is a problem with extremist thinking.  It is important for moderates to exert more control in the world.  Generally, moderates do not choose to get involved with extremists.  They patiently wait for the extreme positions to dissipate.  But moderates must take a stand against terrorists and extremists before they polarize the world.  The thing that makes moderates apathetic is that they believe that since terrorists and extremists are in the minority, they can never take over the world.  Hitler is the ultimate example of why this is the wrong way to think.  Many extremist minorities have taken over countries throughout history.  Stalin just killed millions of people who didn’t do what he demanded.

There are many countries in the world who do not want terrorism to expand into their areas, so they should be willing to form a worldwide coalition to eradicate terrorists and extremists throughout the world.  The terrorists and extremists cannot stand up to a worldwide force that joins hands to crush them.

Perhaps we would be better off by not emphasizing extreme emotions like love and hate and instead by becoming a more thoughtful, moderate world.