Bill!,

But there's a world of difference between these 2 examples, and which also 
highlights the difference between beliefs based on superstition and scientific 
'beliefs'. Namely, that one can be empirically tested with a high degree of 
predictability/certainty, and the other is based on nothing but faith (with 
mostly hit and miss results). A modern jury understands this and can rely 
on evidence provided by a DNA expert/science just as they do when they go to a 
doctor or fly in a plane. 

Mike  




________________________________
From: "billsm...@hhs1963.org" <billsm...@hhs1963.org>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Fri, 29 October, 2010 19:18:49
Subject: RE: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

  
Mike,

I would choose a western surgeon over a shaman. I trust DNA evidence more than 
cat entrails. But that's not the point. If I had lived 300 years ago I would 
have probably chosen a shaman over someone who wanted to open me up with a 
knife, and I would have believed a priest reading cat entrails before some 
crazy 
idea that people are made up of little invisible pieces that are unique.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of 
mike brown
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2010 4:27 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Bill!,

At a functional level, the majority of people will choose science over 
superstion because it is *seen* to be both effective and predictable - even tho 
most people don't know the minutae of its workings. Even tho you have no formal 
understanding of medical procedure, who would you choose to treat your 
appendicitis - a shaman or a western surgeon? 


Mike 

________________________________________
From: "billsm...@hhs1963.org" <billsm...@hhs1963.org>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Fri, 29 October, 2010 17:08:50
Subject: RE: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Mike,

The point I was trying to make was that modern-day juries know nothing more 
about DNA than juries 300 years ago knew about cat entrails. They are both just 
taking the word of an expert witness. That is why I question why DNA evidence 
is 
given such a powerful role in our justice system.

I doubt if we today "..tend to accept scientific evidence as being closet [sic] 
thing to 'truth'..." any more than people 300 years ago accepted without 
question the words of a priest.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of 
mike brown
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2010 6:19 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Bill,

The scenarios you present are so radically different that it makes me think I'm 
missing some finer, subtler point - but for the life of me I can't find it! A 
jury will take into consideration the standards/accepted know.ledge of the time 
when they make a decision. Ask someone today whether they would rather have 
anti-biotics or be bled by leeches and I think you'll know which way they'll 
decide *even tho* they aren't qualified doctors. Also, if the defence could 
bring in credible opposition to DNA then it would be done (I'd LOVE to see a 
creationist take the stand to argue against science!). I think I have a rough 
idea as to what you're driving at (faith) but these days we tend to accept 
scientific evidence as being tested (and peer-reviewed) to such a highly 
predictable degree as to be the closet thing to 'truth' as can be objectively 
judged/trusted. Hope that answers your question somewhat (considering I never 
got past 'sums' in high school science classes).

Mike 

________________________________________
From: "billsm...@hhs1963.org" <billsm...@hhs1963.org>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tue, 26 October, 2010 19:41:01
Subject: RE: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Mike,

What is the difference between these two scenarios?

1. TODAY: A man is accused of rape and murder. He is brought to trial by jury. 
Semen is found in the body of the woman. DNA is extracted from the accused and 
from the semen. A DNA expert comes into court and testifies that the samples 
are 
a match. The jury believes the DNA expert and convicts the accused.

2. 300 YEARS AGO: A man is accused of rape and murder. He is brought to trial 
by 
jury. A priest comes into court and testifies that he cut open a cat and saw in 
the entrails that the man was guilty. The jury believes the priest and convicts 
the accused.

And before you answer, do you really believe the members of each of these 
juries 
knows enough themselves about DNA or cat entrails to make a decision on 
anything 
else than just the testimony of the expert witness?

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogr! oups.com] On Behalf 
Of mike brown
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 10:29 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Bill!,

Forensic evidence is a specialised area for criminal lawyers so I'll tread 
carefully on this subject. Firstly, each case turns on its own facts so you'd 
have to go through each situation (regarding dna) case by case. Secondly, I 
don't think it's correct to say that any ruling is automatically over-turned 
because of dna evidence. True, there have been situations where a person has 
been exonerated, but you're correct to say that this doesn't prove the person 
is 
innocent. But this is just as true as when there is insufficent evidence to 
convict someone, but this doesn't equate to their innocence either. 


My opinion is that new advances in science are just as applicable in the court 
room setting as they are anywhere else. If you were wrongly convicted of rape 
15 
years ago primarily because a rapists mask was found in your possession, I'm 
thinking you'd be pretty happy when dna testing on the perspiration inside the 
mask didn't match your own. Even things like the saliva on the back of a stamp 
can go on to prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) who did or didn't send that 
stalking/threatening/murder letter. In my experience, most criminals are pretty 
dumb so dna evidence is much more likely to convict the guilty than release 
them 
and more likely to protect the innocent rather than convict them. Nothing is 
100% failsafe tho.

Mike 
________________________________________
From: "billsm...@hhs1963.org" <billsm...@hhs1963.org>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Mon, 25 October, 2010 13:15:08
Subject: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike

Mike,

In a previous post you indicated you had gone to law school.

Could you tell me why (or at least give me your opinion as to why) DNA
evidence seems to be treated as some kind of super-evidence in our judicial
system? I thought there were only two types of evidence: direct and
circumstantial. Why would DNA evidence be treated differently as some other
kind of direct evidence, such as eye-witness testimony or fingerprints?

Also, why are so many prisoners' convictions being overturned because of new
DNA evidence? For example, if someone was convicted of murder, and a hair
or skin or blood or semen sample taken from the victim shows DNA that is not
the same as the one convicted, why does that AUTOMATICALLY overturn the
verdict? The convicted could have still killed the victim and the DNA might
have come from someone else also involved.

It just seems like DNA is used like a trump card in our judicial system
instead of just another piece of evidence to consider.

Thanks.Bill! 

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